‘Ockhi’ could turn a super cyclone over Lakshadweep islands

Vinson Kurian Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on January 09, 2018 Published on December 01, 2017
Satellite image taken on December 1, 2017 (0830 to 0857) IST

The Lakshadweep Islands could well be lashed by super cyclone by Saturday, if the rapid pace at which Ockhi has intensified after crossing the peninsular tip is any indication.

An India Met Department (IMD) outlook said that Thursday’s severe cyclonic storm has intensified into a ‘very severe cyclone.’ It could intensify further, the IMD said, but stopped short of suggesting super cyclone status.

Only second instance

If it indeed ramps up into a super cyclone, it could be the only such instance after 2007 when super cyclone ‘Gonu’ became the strongest ever recorded in the Arabian Sea.

The tiny islands of Lakshadweep with relatively poor infrastructure could get ravaged by the prospective super cyclone before it leaves this densely populated archipelago by Saturday.

The very severe cyclone was located on Friday afternoon 90 km north of Minicoy (southern gateway to the archipelago) and 220 km south-south-east of Amini Divi (central parts).

‘Ockhi’ has brought heavy to very rain over Lakshadweep, South Kerala and adjoining Tamil Nadu with Papanasam recording 45 cm of rain during the 24 hours ending Friday morning.

Heay to very heavy rain

The other stations recording heavy rainfall (in cm) are Minicoy-19; Coonoor 13; Thoothukudi and Kanyakumari 10 each; Punalur 9; Udhagamandalam and Thiruvananthapuram 8 each; and Paramathy and Chennai (Nungambakkam) 7 each.

The IMD also stated in its evening bulletin that the prospective super cyclone could start veering to a north-north-east direction (facing the West Coast of India) from Sunday.

This sequence of rapid strengthening and change in track had been indicated last week by the US Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Centre as also major global models.

The detour is because of the eastward movement of a western disturbance from Afghanistan-Pakistan towards North-West India and its tendency to lower a limb into the Arabian Sea and influence a prevailing weather system.

Wind-field projections by the IMD suggest that ‘Ockhi’ could weaken a round or two before hitting the Konkan-Mumbai-Gujarat coast by Tuesday/Wednesday.

Likely shift in track

The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts agreed with this projection, indicating Konkan-Mumbai-South Gujarat as the area for landfall of the system. A number of global weather models have indicated to this possibility. Others suggested a rapid weakening of the storm while approaching the coast even as another group saw it fading out in the sea.

Meanwhile, forecasters’ eyes are riveted on the next depression brewing in the South Andaman Sea, its intensification, and the projected move towards the Tamil Nadu-Andhra Pradesh coast.

Published on December 01, 2017

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