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Weather: Amphan tipped to become extremely severe cyclone

Vinson Kurian Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on May 17, 2020

May weaken ahead of landfall over Bengal-Bangla coasts by Wednesday

India Meteorological Department (IMD) has declared the formation of a pre-monsoon cyclone Amphan (pronounced as Um-Pun) over the South-East Bay of Bengal, which has intensified slightly this (Sunday) morning and lies centred about 990 km South of Paradip (Odisha); 1,140 km South-South-West of Digha (West Bengal); and 1,260 km South-South-West of Khepupara (Bangladesh).

Amphan may intensify further into a severe cyclone soon and into a very severe cyclone late into tonight or tomorrow (Monday) morning.  It may move nearly to the North from Monday into Tuesday and then re-curve to the North-North-East across the North-West Bay and make a landfall along the West Bengal- Bangladesh coasts between Sagar Islands (West Bengal) and Hatiya Islands (Bangladesh) during the afternoon/evening on Wednesday after weakening a round as a very severe cyclone.  

Extremely Severe Cyclone

Amphan is projected to become an extremely severe cyclone buffeted by top wind speeds of 170-180 km/hr and gusting to 200 km/hr ahead of landfall, a notch below the super cyclone status. It would be the fourth extremely severe cyclone since 1990 to form in the Bay of Bengal during the pre-monsoon season. The last pre-monsoon extremely severe cyclone was Fani during April 26-May 4 in 2019, which had reached top winds speeds of 205 km/hr before making a landfall over the North Chilika region in Odisha and killed at least 89 (See table).  

The IMD said that squally wind speeds of 80-90 km/hr gusting to 100 km/hr are currently prevailing over the South-East and adjoining South-West Bay. They may ramp up to 125-135 km/hr gusting to 150 km/hr over the Southern parts of the Central Bay by tomorrow (Monday) morning; 160-170 km/hr gusting to 190 km/hr over the Northern parts of the Central Bay and adjoining North Bay on Tuesday; and 155-165 km/hr gusting to 180 km/hr over the North Bay by Wednesday, the day of the landfall.

Fishermen warning

The sea condition will very high (wave heights of up to 46 ft) over the South-West and adjoining Central Bay till Tuesday, and become phenomenal (46 ft and above) over the Southern parts of the Central Bay from tonight (Sunday) over the Northern parts of the Central Bay and adjoining North Bay on Tuesday and over the North Bay on Wednesday. Fishermen are advised not to venture into the South Bay till later today; the Central Bay from today till tomorrow; and the North Bay from Tuesday to Wednesday. They have also been advised not to venture into the North Bay and along and off the North Odisha, West Bengal and adjoining Bangladesh coasts from tomorrow (Monday) to Wednesday.

Odisha is likely to experience light to moderate rainfall at many places with heavy falls at isolated places from Monday evening. North Coastal Odisha may witness rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places Tuesday. Isolated heavy rainfall is forecast over North Coastal Odisha on Wednesday. The Coastal districts of West Bengal are likely to experience light to moderate rainfall at many places with heavy falls at isolated places on Tuesday. As for the coastal districts of West Bengal, rainfall is likely at most places with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places and extremely heavy falls at isolated places on Wednesday.

High winds alert 

Squally winds reaching speeds of 45-55 km/hr and gusting to 65 km/hr may commence along and off South Odisha coast from Monday; extend to along and off the North Odisha coast on Tuesday morning and along and off the West Bengal coast from the same afternoon. The wind speeds will gradually increase becoming gale winds at 75-85 km/hr gusting to 95 km/hr from Wednesday morning along and off the North Odisha and West Bengal coasts. It will gradually increase thereafter along and off the West Bengal coast. Squally winds of 45-55 km/hr gusting to 65 km/hr have been warned over the Andaman Sea until tomorrow.

Top pre-monsoon cyclones (two categories) in Bay of Bengal since 1990

Cyclone name

Date

Top wind

Casualty

Landfall

Super Cyclone

(no name)

May 4-9, 1990

260 km/hr

967

Machilipatnam, Andhra Pradesh

Super Cyclone

(no name)

April 24-May 2, 1991

240 km/hr

1.38 lakh

Chittagong, Bangladesh

Extremely Severe Cyclone

(no name)

May 14-20, 1997

215 km/hr

1,296

Chittagong, Bangladesh

Extremely Severe Cyclone

Mala

April 25-29, 2006

185 km/hr

37

Rakhine, Myanmar

Extremely Severe Cyclone Nargis

April 27-May 2, 2008

215 km/hr

84,500

Irrawady Delta, Myanmar

Extremely Severe Cyclone

Fani

April 26-May 4

205 km/hr

89

North Chilika,

Odisha

Published on May 17, 2020

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