Cyclone Maha, which is currently over the Arabian Sea, is on track to hit Gujarat later this week even as another cyclone -- Bulbul -- forms over the Bay of Bengal, threatening India's east coast. Cyclone Maha is expected to make landfall in Gujarat in the early hours of Thursday, the India Meteorological Department said in its latest bulletin.
Maha will hit Gujarat at a lower intensity than previously predicted -- it will cross between Diu and Porbandar as a cyclonic storm with winds of up to 90 kmph, India Today reported.
Cyclone Maha is expected to cause widespread rainfall in Gujarat as well as in certain areas of coastal and northern Maharashtra, including urban centres such as Mumbai and Thane.
In Gujarat, the areas of and surrounding Junagarh, Gir Somnath, Amreli, Bhavnagar, Surat, Bharuch, Anand, Ahmedabad, Botad, Porbandar, Rajkot and Vadodara are expected to get heavy rainfall due to the effects of Cyclone Maha. The nearby union territories of Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli will also witness rainfall.
The rainfall is expected to begin on Wednesday and continue until Thursday when Cyclone Maha (pronounced M'maha; named by Oman) will hit Indian mainland.
The IMD has warned of strong winds and rough sea conditions along the coast of Gujarat and Maharashtra. The weather office has also warned of damage to power and communication lines, uprooting of trees and damage to coastal crops. Fishermen have been advised not to venture out to sea until Thursday.
Meanwhile, the government has taken stock of the situation. On Tuesday, PM Narendra Modi chaired a meeting to review the preparedness for Cyclone Maha.
The Indian Navy said it has deployed four warships loaded with relief material and has kept aircraft and helicopters on standby to deal with the aftermath of Cyclone Maha. The Indian Coast Guard too has begun its preparations and is currently actively involved in preventing fishermen from going out to sea.
Teams of the State Disaster Relief Force and National Disaster Relief Force have been deployed and are on standby to help with rescue and relief operations in the aftermath of Cyclone Maha. More details regarding Cyclone Maha's intensity and landfall are expected on Wednesday.
Meanwhile a depression has set in off India's east coast over the Bay of Bengal. The depression is expected to gradually gather intensity into a cyclonic storm and eventually a very severe cyclonic storm by this week's end. The storm will be called Cyclone Bulbul (the name was contributed by Pakistan) when it reaches the intensity of a cyclone.
The IMD predicts that by Wednesday morning, the depression will become a cyclonic storm and by Friday Cyclone Bulbul will turn into a very severe cyclonic storm. The weather office has currently released Cyclone Bulbul-related predictions -- including intensity and path -- only until Saturday.
The IMD has not yet said whether Cyclone Bulbul will make landfall in India and if so, at what intensity. Currently, the IMD is predicting that Cyclone Bulbul will head towards the Odisha, West Bengal and Bangladesh coasts.
The IMD has also predicted that the effects of Cyclone Bulbul will result in heavy rainfall over Andaman and Nicobar Islands on Tuesday and Wednesday and moderate rainfall over coastal areas of Odisha and West Bengal Saturday onwards.
More details on Cyclone Bulbul its intensity and whether it will make landfall in India will be known in the next couple of days as IMD releases more informed bulletins.
BDST: 1330 HRS, NOV 6, 2019