Cyclone Sagar rages off Yemen as Arabian Sea braces for more

Forecasters keep a weather eye on a depression closer home

Thiruvananthapuram, May 17

Wednesday’s well-marked low-pressure area in the South-West Arabian Sea intensified during the intervening night and into Thursday to become tropical cyclone ‘Sagar.’

The cyclone lay over the Gulf of Aden, 390 km East-North-East of Aden (Yemen) and 560 km West-North-West of Socotra Islands around noon.

Buzz closer home

The India Met Department (IMD) expected ‘Sagar’ to intensify slightly further late into the night, move initially westwards and later west-south-westwards.

It warned of gale winds with speeds reaching 65-75 km/hr and gusting to 85 km/hr around the system centre covering Gulf of Aden and adjoining areas of West-Central and South-West Arabian Sea until Friday and winding down thereafter. Fishermen have been advised not to venture into the Gulf of Aden and adjoining areas of West-Central and South-West Arabian Sea during the next two days.

Nearer home, a persisting cyclonic circulation over the South-East Arabian Sea continues to engage the attention of forecasters for signs of further development.

Model consensus

The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts and the ensemble model of the US National Centre for Climate Prediction (NCEP) are assertive about this outlook.

They however differ in the track of onward movement of the system. Monsoon forecasters are eager to see if this system could precipitate seasonal rains along the Kerala coast in another 7-10 days when the track will become known.

For starters, the European Centre sees wind speeds around the cyclonic circulation starting to build around the South Kerala coast from this weekend (May 20 onwards), intensify into a low-pressure area close to the North Kerala coast, and further into a depression or even a cyclone off Kerala-Karnataka coast by May 26.

Away from Coast

But it would be scooped up by western disturbance dipping deep into South-East Arabian Sea, and pulled up North along the Karnataka coast. It would then be guided away to the outer seas of East-Central Arabian Sea.

If this were to pan out, the south-westerly winds commandeered by the system would most likely precipitate the onset of the monsoon along the way.

But the US NCEP plots a different track for the system, taking it progressively away from South-East Arabian Sea to the West-South-West, mostly along the same track as cyclone ‘Sagar’ before it.

It would intensify into a cyclone by the time it barrels into the Gulf of Aden or South Yemen, the second successive time for the coast on the Arabian Gulf. For now, the IMD too is in agreement with this outlook.

Published on May 17, 2018
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