Met ramps up wind speed of ‘very severe’ Cyclone Vayu

Vinson Kurian Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on June 12, 2019

An India Meteorological Department scientist monitors Cyclone Vayu inside his office in Ahmedabad.   -  Reuters

The India Met Department (IMD) has ramped up the expected top wind speed of the very severe cyclone Vayu from 145-155 km/hr to 170-180 km/hr at the time of landfall.

After crossing the Porbandar-Veraval stretch in Gujarat, the system is likely to move along and parallel to the Saurashtra & Kutch coasts with its band of forceful winds and heavy rain lashing the districts from Amreli to Kutch.

Threshold crossed?

The IMD located ‘Vayu’ over East-Central Arabian Sea, about 310 km west-southwest of Mumbai; 280 km south of Veraval, and 360 km nearly south of Porbandar (both in Gujarat) on Wednesday afternoon.

It will resume its journey northwards and cross the Gujarat coast between Dwarka and Veraval, which is slightly west-northwest to the landfall area projected earlier. It will hit the coast as a very severe cyclone, and weaken only with landfall. Meanwhile, The Weather Company, an IBM Business, hinted that ‘Vayu’ may have already crossed the threshold to be classified as an ‘extremely severe cyclone’ by 6.30 pm on Wednesday.

It located the system 340 km nearly south of Veraval, with maximum sustained wind speeds of 167 km/hr gusting to 204 m/hr, the IBM forecast said.

The US Joint Typhoon Warning Centre was non-committal on a landfall along the Gujarat coast, but said that ‘Vayu’ could track along the western coast. It did not, however, rule out the possibility of landfall over Gujarat or adjoining area.

Heavy rain forecast

The IBM forecast estimated total rainfall of up to 25 cm in the next two days over the coastal area of Kathiawar peninsula. Also, this coastal area can expect wind gusts of 100 km/hr and storm surge of up to 22 to 26 ft on Thursday.

Even as ‘Vayu’ zooms closer to the Gujarat coast for an eventual landfall, global models are closely monitoring the waters of the Bay of Bengal on the other side of the peninsula for signs of storm genesis.

The IMD has already traced out a rudimentary cyclonic circulation over the North-East and adjoining East-Central Bay, which needs to descend to the lower levels of atmosphere for further development.

A weather tracker of the Climate Prediction Centre of the US National Weather Services has hinted that it would develop into a storm, cross the Odisha-Bengal coast, and drive into the interior of Central India towards Gujarat over the next eight to 10 days.

This could potentially douse the extreme heat currently prevailing over a swathe of the landmass, and also signal the entry of the Bay of Bengal arm of the monsoon into the farming heartland of the country.


Published on June 12, 2019

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