Cyclone alert off Kanyakumari, may ramp up as severe cyclone later

VINSON KURIAN THIRUVANANTHAPURAM | Updated on January 09, 2018 Published on November 30, 2017

India Met Department (IMD) has issued a tropical cyclone formation alert to the West of Sri Lanka and to the South of Kanyakumari at the tip of peninsular India.

Yesterday’s depression intensified into a deep depression in the small hours of this morning and lay 185 km north-west of Galle (Sri Lanka) and 210 km south-south-east of Kanyakumari.


The US Joint Typhoon Warning Centre had declared a cyclone formation alert yesterday after it assessed as ‘high’ the possibility, given a helpful environment evolving in the Comorin/Lakshadweep Sea.

The cyclone and the track of its movement in this region is a rarity with no precedent in recent memory. But the seas around here are also among the warmest in the tropics that aids cyclone genesis.

Meanwhile, the US agency located the system 1,672 km north-north-east of Diego Garcia, and raised it to the level of a ‘numbered cyclone 03B’, the equivalent of a IMD’s deep depression.

It too agreed that the system would continue to move north-north-west, a track that takes it within earshot of Kanyakumari-Nagercoil-Thiruvananthapuram coasts.

In fact, the US agency said that ‘03B’ would continue to intensify into a very powerful cyclone over East–Central Arabian Sea, given extreme warm sea surface temperatures of 30 degree Celsius and above.


Additionally, it also predicts that the system could re-curve north-north-east aiming at the West Coast of India, aligning it towards the Mumbai–Gujarat coasts after December 4 (Monday onwards).

To be named Ockhi (contributed by Bangladesh), the cyclone could generate winds of 167 km/hr gusting to just above 200 km/hr, making it a very severe cyclone (category 4 on Saffir–Simpson scale) by then.

But the cyclone would weaken under the influence of a prevailing western disturbance—which is basically what forces change in its direction towards India’s West Coast—as it approaches for a landfall.

Heavy rain and high wind alert along with warning for fishermen are valid for the coast extending along an arc from southern coast of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, including Lakshadweep, for the next two days.

Meanwhile, the look-out for a low-pressure area and its subsequent intensification as a depression have been maintained for the South Andaman Sea, with a track likely aiming India’s East Coast.

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Published on November 30, 2017
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