The Bay of Bengal is likely to witness its second severe cyclone of the year, the first being Super Cyclone Amphan in May.
The Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC) announced that the storm is likely to hit Tamil Nadu coast by midweek, with the next three days bringing in extremely heavy rain, strong winds, and rough sea conditions. The cyclonic storm Nivar is expected to intensify further, clocking wind speeds in the range of 100-110 kmph, gusting to 120 kmph.
The RMC in Chennai, which is among the six RMCs in the Indian Meteorological Department, said that commencement of heavy rainfall is expected Monday onwards, over the delta districts of Nagapattinam, Thanjavur and Tiruvarur. S Balachandran, Deputy Director General of Meteorology at the RMC said that the storm "will intensify into a cyclonic storm by Tuesday and into a severe cyclonic storm by Wednesday. The storm is likely to cross the Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry coast between Karaikal and Mahabalipuram around November 25 afternoon."
After cyclone Gaja in 2018, this will be the second cyclone to cross Tamil Nadu in the last two years. Tamil Nadu also risks maximum hazard due to the cyclone with extreme weather conditions anticipated on Tuesday and Wednesday. Sea conditions in the west-southwest regions of the Bay of Bengal have turned rough to extremely rough, and are expected to reach their peak on Wednesday. Locally, temporary houses and huts could suffer most damage, taking into account the time it would take for remedial action. Power lines, as well as communication frameworks could also be compromised; trees could be uprooted, and standing crops could be hit due to the cyclone being a carrier of saline water.
As precautionary measures in Tamil Nadu, a two-day red alert has been issued for the delta districts (where heavy rainfall of over 20 cm is expected) for November 24 and 25. Preparations have also been made at Ariyalur, Mayiladuturai, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur and Nagapattinam, all of which had incurred heavy losses during Cyclone Gaja in 2018. Similarly, an orange alert has been sounded in areas where rainfall is projected to range from 11 cm to 20 cm. These places include Chennai, Tiruvallur, Chengalpattu, Kancheepuram, Perambalur, Pudukottai, Cuddalore and the Villupuram districts.
Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has also suggested complete suspension of fishing activity in the vulnerable areas of the Bay of Bengal till November 25.
The Development of the Cyclone:
The depression phase of the cyclone will intensify and come into its own sometime on Tuesday. The IMD has said that once intensified, the storm would acquire its name 'Nivar,' as proposed by Iran. As the winds intensify, wind speed is to range between 70 to 80 km/hr, gusting to 90km/hr.
The cyclone will further develop itself into a Severe Cyclone category by Wednesday, where winds are likely to range from the 90 to 100 km/hr mark, gusting to 110 km/hr.
"It is expected to hit Tamil Nadu coast on Wednesday afternoon. The projected track indicates its landwards crossing between Karaikal and Mamallapuram near Puducherry as a severe cyclonic storm (100 to 110 km/hr gusting to 120 km/hr)," said Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, Director General, IMD.
The Expected Intensity:
On Tuesday, winds with speeds 65 to 75 km/hr gusting to 85 km/hr are expected to prevail off the coast of Tamil Nadu. As the cyclone would be on its way to become more 'severe,' winds with speeds 100 to 110 km/hr gusting to 120 km/hr are forecast over north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Karaikal, which are expected to last at least 12 hours on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, the sea conditions would be high to very highly unfavourable, being at their expected worst in the course of the development of the cyclone, and potentially triggering sea waves up to 10 metres high.
While northern districts of Tamil Nadu are to face the maximum hazard, coastal Andhra Pradesh; Nellore and Chittoor districts of Rayalaseema, Telangana; and south interior of Karnataka will also receive rainfall between November 24-26. Southern Chhattisgarh and Odisha, too, will bear
the brunt of the cyclone, with rainfall activity projected on November 26 and 27.
As of 5.30 am today, the cyclone was located 410 km east-southeast of Puducherry and 450 km southeast of Chennai.