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'Fani' ramping up to a monster storm; to cross Odisha coast by Friday

Vinson Kurian Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on April 30, 2019 Published on April 30, 2019

A group of fishermen return to shore in Kothapatnam in Prakasam district as Fani intensifies into severe cyclonic storm on Monday evening.   -  The Hindu

Landfall between Gopalpur and Chandbali; cyclone alert extended to the coasts of North Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal

In a sudden development, India Met Department (IMD) has extended cyclone alert to North Andhra Pradesh coast and West Bengal coast, apart from Odisha, where it is expected to cross by Friday.

In updated forecasts, the Met warned that the cyclone would rapidly intensify to phenomenal wind speeds of a maximum 180 kilometres/hour (km/hr) gusting to 200 km/hr from Wednesday itself while located in the sea.

Destructive winds

Cyclone' Fani' is expected to intensify further into an extremely severe cyclone by Wednesday but move to North-West (towards North Tamil Nadu-South Andhra Pradesh coasts) till evening. Thereafter, it will re-curve (move away from coast) to the North-North-East and cross Odisha coast between Gopalpur and Chandbali to the South of Puri on Friday afternoon. At the time of crossing, extremely severe cyclone 'Fani' would feature destructive winds peaking to 185 km/hr and gusting to 205 km/hr.

The United States (US) Joint Typhoon Warning Centre is forecasting maximum wind speeds of as high as 212 km/hr and gusting to 260 km/hr, upgrading 'Fani' to category-4 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale for measuring storm intensity.

Shifts track?

Global models assess that the very severe cyclone has shifted to more westward track (towards Tamil Nadu-Andhra Pradesh coast) in the six hours ending on Tuesday afternoon. 

Apparently, this is forcing weathermen yet again to redraw the map for its eventual roller-coaster ride over the warm seas, bringing more areas than previously thought under likely impact from the massive storm. 

Importantly, the IMD is now predicting that 'Fani' would barrel into the Odisha coast as an extremely severe cyclone with maximum wind speeds of up to 185 km/hr gusting to 205 km/hr at landfall. 

This is again contrary to earlier forecasts that indicated the storm might face increasing wind shear over North-West Bay of Bengal forcing it to weaken a round or two at the time of landfall. At 11.30 am on Tuesday, 'Fani' lay centred over South-East and adjoining South-West Bay, about 800 km South of Puri (Odisha)  and 620 km to the South-South-East of Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh).

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Published on April 30, 2019
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