Agri Business

IMD issues another cyclone alert for Arabian Sea

Vinson Kurian Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on October 30, 2019

File Photo   -  The Hindu

In a seemingly unending series of big-weather developments in the Arabian Sea, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has declared a fresh cyclone alert in the Arabian Sea, the second during the ongoing North-East monsoon.

In an afternoon update, the IMD said that a persisting depression over the Maldives-Comorin area has moved North-West and lies about 450 km North-North-East of Male (Maldives); 200 km East-South-East of Minicoy (Lakshadweep); 380 km South-East of Kavaratti (Lakshadweep); and 220 km West-South-West of Thiruvananthapuram.

An Ockhi repeat?

It is likely to move further to the North-West across the Lakshadweep Islands and intensify into a deep depression by Thursday and into a cyclone by Saturday, close on the heels of supercyclone Kyarr.

The IMD has forecast heavy to very heavy rainfall with extremely heavy rainfall over Lakshadweep during the next two days, in a throw-back to 2017, when very severe cyclone Ockhi had ravaged it.

By the looks of it, the brewing cyclone has everything going for it to intensify since it is not headed for any landmass, and enjoys the support of very warm seas and other helpful environmental features.

Heavy to very heavy rainfall is likely over Kerala on Wednesday and Thursday; over Tamil Nadu on Wednesday; and over Coastal Karnataka on Thursday.

US agency track

The pull power of the brewing cyclone, which extends right across the South Peninsular region into the Bay of Bengal, will ensure that heavy rains also lash Rayalaseema, Coastal Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and South Interior Karnataka during the next two days.

The US Joint Typhoon Warning Centre got off the block right away forecasting a track for the building cyclone along the West Coast of India (Kerala-Karnataka-Goa-Maharashtra) before moving away to the open waters of the Arabian Sea, as was the case with predecessor supercyclone Kyarr.


But the US agency is also hinting at off-model forecasts that take the storm in the East-North-East direction towards the coast of India, which it admits may not work out with this prospective cyclone.

As in the case of Kyarr, the building cyclone also enjoys the advantage of favourable values of wind shear (change in wind direction and speed with height), which allows the storm tower to stand erect while its base is steered around.

The IMD has not announced any track for the system, since it is early days yet, with a lot of time and distance at the storm's disposal to proceed in any direction.

Heavy rain alert

Heavy to very heavy rainfall with extremely heavy rainfall is being forecast at isolated places over Lakshadweep; heavy to very heavy rainfall is seen over Kerala, Mahe and Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, and heavy rainfall has been forecast over Coastal Andhra Pradesh, Rayalaseema, Telangana and Coastal and South Interior Karnataka.

Thunderstorms accompanied by lightning have been warned for West Madhya Pradesh, Vidarbha, Madhya Maharashtra, Gujarat region, Coastal Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Rayalaseema, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, and Kerala.

Squally winds with speeds reaching 40-50 km/hr gusting to 60 km/hr are likely over the Comorin-Maldives areas and adjoining Lakshadweep area; 35-45 km/hr winds gusting to 55 km/hr have been forecast along and off the Kerala-Karnataka coasts.

High waves

Sea conditions will be rough to very rough (wave heights of 13-20 ft) over the South-East Arabian Sea and adjoining Comorin-Lakshadweep-Maldives area and along and off the Kerala and South Karnataka coast.

Almost similar weather conditions are forecast for Thursday except that squally winds would pick up speed to 50-60 km/hr gusting to 70 km/hr over the Lakshadweep area and South-East and adjoining East-Central Arabian Sea and 35-45 km/hr gusting to 55 km/hr along and off the Kerala-Karnataka coasts.

Sea conditions will continue to be rough to very rough over the South-East Arabian Sea and adjoining Lakshadweep-Maldives area as well as along and off the Kerala-South Karnataka coast. Fishermen are advised not to venture into the sea in these areas.

Meanwhile, independent weather watchers have hinted that the ‘near-stationary’ depression and its slow progression indicate the prospect of rains over Kerala during the rest of the week.

Saturated ground conditions may increase the risk of flooding and landslides as the depression nearly reprises the track made infamous by the very severe cyclone Ockhi in 2017, they aver.

Kyarr weakens

Farther out into the Arabian Sea, supercyclone Kyarr, over the West-Central and adjoining East-Central basin, has weakened twice over, as expected, to an extremely severe cyclone and further into a very severe cyclone.

The IMD has been predicting that the very severe cyclone will re-curve West-South-West and move towards the Socotra Islands during the next four days.


The very severe cyclone is expected to weaken further into a severe cyclone by the early hours of Thursday and into a cyclone by the same evening, the IMD said.

Sea conditions will be phenomenal (wave heights of 46 ft and above) over the West-Central and adjoining North Arabian Sea around the centre of the cyclone this (Wednesday) evening.

This will improve gradually thereafter, becoming high to very high (up to 46 ft) on Thursday and Friday. It will be high to very high over the East-Central Arabian Sea until Thursday.

Fishermen have been advised not to venture into the East-Central Arabian Sea and adjoining North Arabian Sea until Thursday and into the West-Central Arabian Sea until Saturday.

The Weather Company, an IBM Business, projects the path of the two current weather systems in the Arabian Sea over the next five days (Kyarr to the top left, and the new depression to the bottom right, in each frame) as follows:


Published on October 30, 2019

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