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Weather update: Cyclone 'Ockhi' heads for Lakshadweep, to intensify further

VINSON KURIAN THIRUVANANTHAPURAM | Updated on January 09, 2018 Published on November 30, 2017

Satellite image taken on November 30, 2017 (1300 to 1327 IST) Source: IMD

The India Met Department (IMD) has officially stated that the deep depression 170 km to the south-east of Kanyakumari has intensified into a named cyclone, Ockhi.

It is moving towards the Lakshadweep Islands and would intensify into a severe cyclone in the process. The system is located 700 km east-south-east of Minicoy in Lakshadweep.

RARE FOR LAKSHADWEEP

Lakshadweep is an archipelago of 12 atolls, three reefs and five submerged banks lying 200 to 400 km to the West of the South-West coast (Kerala) of India.

The main islands are Kavaratti, Agatti, Minicoy and Amini. Agatti has an airport with direct flights from Kochi in Central Kerala.

This could be the first time in recent memory that the archipelago has come to be threatened by a full-blooded cyclone racing in from the Sri Lanka coast to the east-south-east.

Earlier this morning, the deep depression ravaged the Kanyakumari-Nagercoil region as high winds and heavy rain lashed the twin cities on the peninsular tip that fall in its path.

To its north, Thiruvananthapuram woke up this morning to a sustained heavy drizzle and heavily overcast skies, which hit rush hour traffic in the state's capital city.

FURTHER INTENSIFICATION

The IMD said Ockhi would stay as a severe cyclonic storm out in the East-Central Arabian Sea till early morning on Sunday, up to which forecasts are available.

Earlier, the US Navy's Joint Typhoon Warning Centre (JTWC) had put out an alert saying that the system could intensify further to become a severe cyclonic storm.

It further said the storm could re-curve towards the Mumbai-Gujarat region on the West Coast, after being influenced by an incoming western disturbance from the opposite direction.

But it would weaken as it approaches the coast. The IMD has not taken a call on the behaviour of the storm, its strength or intensity beyond December 3.

'NUMBERED' CYCLONE

The IMD had initially issued a tropical cyclone formation alert to the West of Sri Lanka and to the South of Kanyakumari, on the tip of peninsular India.

This was after yesterday's depression intensified into a deep depression in the small hours of this morning and lay 210 km south-south-east of Kanyakumari.

The JTWC had declared a cyclone formation alert yesterday after it assessed as 'high' the possibility, given a helpful environment evolving in the Comorin/ Lakshadweep Sea.

It had put a '03B' tag to it. This numbering of a storm precedes assigning a pre-determined name to it, Ockhi in this case, contributed by Bangladesh.

Though the cyclone and the track of its movement are a rarity, the Lakshadweep Sea/South-East Arabian Sea happen to be among the warmest in the tropics that aids cyclone genesis.

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Published on November 30, 2017
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