India Meteorological Department (IMD) has upgraded the tropical threat from cyclone ‘Nivar’ to a dangerous very severe cyclone aiming to hit the Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts between Karaikal and Mamallapuram late into Wednesday evening.
Earlier on Tuesday, cyclone ‘Nivar’ over the South-West Bay of Bengal had remained practically stationary for three hours into the morning but had resumed its move at 11.30 am when it was located to about 380 km East-South-East of Puducherry and 430 km South-East of Chennai, the IMD said.
System amassing strength
The stalling of a cyclone on the home stretch gives rise to more than one interpretation: a brief pause to amass more strength by devouring on the moisture sloshing around or wait for ‘external actors’ to clear out before the cyclone launches itself on the last mile, though with some collateral damage to its structure.
But in the instant case, the IMD expects it to intensify another round into severe cyclone during the next 12 hours and into a very severe cyclone during the next 12 hours (by Wednesday) supported by seawaters what are just about warm enough sustain the storm strength. At 29 deg Celsius, the sea-surface temperatures are no big deal but could be enough to make the system ‘feel good’ around.
Howling winds seen, gusts at 145 km/hour
The cyclone would hit a West-North-West track initially before shifting to the North-West to approach for the landfall. The IMD expects it to cross the Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts between Karaikal and Mamallapuram around Puducherry by Wednesday evening as a very severe cyclone with wind speeds of 120-130 km/hr gusting to 145 km/hr.
Global forecasts valid till 4.30 pm on Tuesday showed moderate to heavy rain over Sriharikota, Pulicat, Chennai, Ramapuram, Mamallapuram, Puducherry, Cuddalore, Chidambaram, and Velankanni along the South Coastal Andhra Pradesh and adjoining Tamil Nadu coasts. Heavier thunderstorms were waiting to strike all along the stretch even as parts of adjoining interior have also started receiving rain.
The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) tends to delay the landfall till much later into the night after subjecting the Chennai-Mamallapuram-Puducherry-Cuddalore-Velankanni belt to some severe thrashing with high-velocity winds and very heavy to extremely heavy rainfall.
Very heavy to extremely heavy rain
The IMD said that fairly widespread to widespread rain/thunderstorms would lash Coastal and North Interior Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Karaikal until Thursday; and over South coastal Andhra Pradesh and Rayalaseema on Wednesday and Thursday; and over South-East Telangana on Thursday.
Isolated extremely heavy rainfall is forecast over the districts of Pudukottai, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Karaikal, Nagapattinam, Cuddalore, Ariyalur and Perambalur on Tuesday; over Cuddalore, Kallakurchi, Puducherry, Villupuram, Tiruvannamalai, Chengalpattu, Ariyalur, Perambalur and Karaikal on Wednesday; over Nellore and Chittoor districts of Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday; and over Rayalaseema and South-East Telangana on Thursday.