Cyclone Maha may intensify into very severe cyclone: IMD

Vinson Kurian THIRUVANANTHAPURAM | Updated on October 31, 2019

Cyclone Maha over Lakshadweep and adjoining South-East Arabian Sea has moved in a North-North-West direction and lay centered over Lakshadweep and the adjoining South-East Arabian Sea early this (Thursday) morning.

The India Met Department (IMD) located it to 30 km East-South-East of Amini Divi; 300 km North of Minicoy; 60 km North-North-East of Kavaratti; and 300 km West-South-West of Kozhikode (Kerala).


It is likely to continue to move to the North-North-West across the Lakshadweep Islands during the course of the day, then North-West to emerge in East-Central Arabian Sea tomorrow (Friday). Thereafter, it would move West-North-West into the open waters of the Arabian Sea.

It may intensify into a severe cyclone over the Lakshadweep area later today (Thursday) and into a very severe cyclone over the East-Central Arabian Sea by Friday/Saturday.


The IMD has warned that cyclone Maha will trigger heavy to very heavy rainfall with extremely heavy falls over the Lakshadweep area till Friday.

Heavy to very heavy rainfall are projected over Kerala, South Tamil Nadu and Coastal Karnataka during this period; and heavy over Rayalseema, Coastal Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and South Interior Karnataka.

Thunderstorms accompanied by lightning are expected over Vidarbha, Madhya Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, South Konkan, Goa, Coastal Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Rayalseema, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Kerala.

The Outlook for Thursday: Gale winds of 89-90 km/hr, gusting to 100 km/hr may blow over the Lakshadweep area around the cyclone system center; 100-110 km/hr, gusting to 120 km/hr over the North Lakshadweep and adjoining South-East and East-Central Arabian Sea; 65 -75 km/hr, gusting to 85 km/hr over the South Lakshadweep Islands and the adjoining sea areas.

Squally winds with speeds reaching 40-50 km/hr, gusting to 60 km/hr, are likely along and off the Kerala-Karnataka coasts and the Comorin-Maldives area.

The sea condition will be rough to very rough (wave heights of eight to 13 ft) over the Comorin-Maldives area and the Kerala-Karnataka coast; very rough to high over the East-Central Arabian Sea (13-2o ft); and high to very high (20 to 30 ft) over the Lakshadweep area and the adjoining South-East Arabian Sea and; very high (up to 46 ft) over the West-Central Arabian Sea. Fishermen are advised not to venture into these areas.

The IMD has advised the suspension of fishing operations over the Comorin-Maldives area, the Lakshadweep area and the adjoining South-East Arabian Sea, and along and off the Kerala-Karnataka coasts and over the East-Central Arabian Sea for today (Thursday).

A tide wave about one meter in height above the astronomical tide is likely to inundate low-lying areas of the Lakshadweep Islands.


The intensification of cyclone Maha has drawn the attention of meteorologists all over the world, since it has evolved close on the heels of supercylone Kyarr, one of the strongest ever to roam the Arabian Sea waters.

The Twitter handle @metofficestorms of the UK Met Office in its tweet spoke about the presence of two cyclones in the Arabian Sea at the same time:


@SriGmfl from IIT-Bombay had to say the following:


Or, for that matter, @webberweather


Meanwhile, the erstwhile supercyclone Kyarr has wound down twice over in strength and lay as a severe cyclone farther away over the West-Central Arabian Sea, 1,320 km to the West-South-West of Mumbai; 680 km to the East-North-East of Salalah (Oman); and 290 km South-East of Masirah (Oman).

It is very likely move further South-West across the West-Central Arabian Sea during the next three days and may weaken into a cyclone by this noon.

And, this is more or less the track cyclone Maha would take even as it strengthens per forecasts. This is surprising since, normally, intense torrents from a system as strong as a super-cyclone should cool down the ocean temperatures, rendering them not conducive for hosting another storm.

But it is on this track that cyclone Maha is forecast to become a very severe cyclone, only a step or two down from the supercyclone category. This is indicative of the relentless heating of the equatorial region across a warming globe, fuelling the formation of catastrophic storms one after the other.

Meanwhile, the Bay of Bengal (Andaman Sea) is likely to throw up another low-pressure area in the wake of tropical storm Matmo in the South China Sea, pushing into Vietnam to the immediate North-North-East.

Published on October 31, 2019

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