The second Bay of Bengal cyclone of the ongoing North-East monsoon season is expected to develop late Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning as a prevailing deep depression over South-West and adjoining South-East Bay of Bengal gains further momentum and moves in towards the East Sri Lanka coast.


India Meteorological Department (IMD) located the deep depression over the South-West Bay of Bengal, about 460 km East-South-East of Trincomalee (Sri Lanka) and 860 km East-South-East of Kanniyakumari (India) by Tuesday noon.


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Twin landfalls for a cyclone?

After intensifying into a cyclone, the system may move west-northwestwards and cross Sri Lanka coast between close to Trincomalee during the evening/night of Wednesday with a wind speed of 75-85 km/hr gusting to 95 km/hr. The landfall and the hilly terrain over Sri Lanka may weaken and slow down the system a bit, causing the remnant to meander over the Gulf of Mannar and adjoining Comorin area from Thursday morning and later into the day.

It would move nearly west-southwestwards and cross the South Tamil Nadu coast between Kanniyakumari and Pamban precisely a day later into the morning of Friday, the IMD said. Five global models surveyed gave different time and place of landfall both along the East Sri Lanka coast followed by that along the South Tamil Nadu coast.


Also read: Today’s Weather: Pre-cyclone watch for South Tamil Nadu, South Kerala

Crisis management committee meets

In Delhi, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba chaired a meeting of the National Crisis Management Committee through video conferencing with the Chief Secretaries of Tamil Nadu; Kerala; Advisor, Lakshadweep, and Secretaries of different ministries, on Tuesday.

The IMD informed the meeting that high-velocity winds of varying speed might affect the southern coast of Tamil Nadu and Kerala and Lakshadweep with heavy to very heavy rainfall between Wednesday and Friday. It may cause damage to crops and some essential services. There should be a complete suspension of fishing activities up to Friday.

Raised level of preparedness

The Chief Secretaries of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Advisor, Lakshadweep briefed the meeting about their preparedness and arrangements by District Disaster Management Committees in the concerned districts, warning to fishermen and deployment of rescue teams. The Director-General, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) informed the members that necessary teams have been positioned in these areas and the remaining teams have been kept on stand-by across Tamil Nadu.


Secretaries from the Ministries of Civil Aviation, Telecommunication, Power, Home, National Disaster Management Authority and the representative of the Ministry of Defence also attended the meeting. The Cabinet Secretary asked the State Governments and Central Ministries to ensure that all necessary actions are taken to ensure that damage is minimal and necessary preparations are made to restore essential services at the earliest.


Heavy rain for South TN, Kerala


Isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall has been warned South Tamil Nadu on Wednesday and Friday and over South Kerala on Thursday and Friday. Heavy to very heavy rainfall is likely over North Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Mahe, Karaikal and North Kerala on Wednesday and Thursday. Heavy rainfall is expected over South Coastal Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday and Thursday and over Lakshadweep on Thursday and Friday.


A high wind alert has been issued, and fishermen have been warned against venturing out into the South-West and South-East Bay of Bengal, the Gulf of Mannar, the Comorin-Lakshadweep area and the South-East Arabian Sea variously until Friday.


Central Water Commission alert


The Central Water Commission (CWC) noted that the Kallada dam in Kollam in South Kerala is full to the extent of 86 per cent. Forecast of extremely heavy rainfall for two days in Kollam district may lead to inflows into Kallada reservoir, and this could likely inundate low-lying areas in the district. Utmost precautions and vigil have to be maintained along the banks of rivers Pampa, Manimala and Achankovil keeping in mind the Sabarimala pilgrim season in Pathanamthitta district, the CWC said.


Global model outlook


The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) pointed to landfall of the cyclone over Trincomalee (Sri Lanka) at 6.30 am on Wednesday but no second landfall over the South Tamil Nadu coast with a remnant of the cyclone choosing to dive deeper into the South off the Sri Lanka coast into Equatorial Indian Ocean by Friday evening/night till when forecasts are available. The ECMWF-IFS-HRES model concurred.


The ICON model took the cyclone for landfall farther to the North of Sri Lanka at Jaffna delayed till 12.30 am on Thursday, followed by a second landfall over Rameswaram over the South-East Tamil Nadu coast at 3.30 pm the same day. The GFS and the UK Met Office said the cyclone would hit Mulliawalai in North Sri Lanka on Wednesday respectively at 6.30 pm and 11.30 pm while agreeing on Rameswaram as the second landfall point respectively at 2.30 pm and 5.30 pm on Thursday. The GEM chose just South of Trincomalee as the first landfall point at 8.30 pm on Wednesday and Rameswaram for the second, at 5.30 am on Friday.


Hip-hops in the Gulf of Mannar


All models concurred with the outlook that the remnant system would do a few rounds of hip-hops over the waters of the Gulf of Mannar before settling for a second landfall over South-East Tamil Nadu or choosing to deep-dive into the Equatorial Indian Ocean to the South of Sri Lanka as the ECMWF models suggested.


Also read: Early warnings helped Kalpakkam atomic power complex tackle ‘Nivar’

The IMD has forecast heavy to very heavy rainfall with isolated extremely heavy falls over the Kanniyakumari, Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi, Tenkasi, Ramanathapuram and Sivagangai districts of South Tamil Nadu on Wednesday and Thursday; and over the Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha districts in South Kerala on Thursday.