Cyclone Michaung over the southwest Bay of Bengal has moved northwest and intensified into a severe cyclonic storm. The storm is likely to track more northward and move to west-central and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal in the next 12 hr. The storm has already crossed east abeam Chennai and Tirupathi and will reach east of Nellore by early evening today. Moving further northward, the storm is bracing the Andhra Coast and is heading for Bapatla and Machilipatnam. All this while, the cyclone is moving dangerously close to the coast, ravaging on and off-shore areas. Coastal inundation, tall storm surge, blinding rains with gale winds disrupting rail, road and air traffic, uprooting and felling trees and damaging the transmission lines will become the soar points of the storm.
This is the 4th storm of this year over the Bay of Bengal. Earlier, two tropical storms formed over the Arabian Sea as well and the first one Biparjoy, struck Gujarat near Naliya on 16th June 2023. BoB storms headed for far eastern coasts with the first storm Mocha hitting Myanmar, near Sittwe on 14th May 2023. Cyclone Hamoon and Midhili formed in post-monsoon and both struck Bangladesh, near Cox’s Bazar in October and November 2023, respectively.
Tropical storm Michaung emerged as a low-pressure area over the South Andaman Sea on 01st Dec and intensified into a cyclonic storm on 03rdMorning. The storm has followed a peculiar track, maintaining proximity to the coastline of Tamil Nadu first and now bracing South Coastal Andhra Pradesh. Courtesy warm sea surface and light wind shear, the cyclone has become a severe storm and intensifying further. It is likely to reach peak intensity anytime around the evening hours today and slowly drop thereafter.
Last year, around this time, storm Mandous had evolved over the Southwest Bay of Bengal. The storm had weakened before making landfall and crossed the coastline near Chennai as a deep depression on 09th Dec 2022. This storm had moved nearly dead west to meet the coastline head-on. This also had the history of crossing over to the Arabian Sea and intensified again to a tropical storm 07A, as announced by JTWC. The current storm, Michaung is travelling parallel to the coastline of North Tamil Nadu and South Coastal Andhra Pradesh. The northeast-southwest orientation of the coastline will intercept this storm, somewhere between Bapatla and Machilipatnam. The landfall is likely tomorrow anytime between 0900-1100hr near Bapatla. The storm will weaken after the landfall and take a recurved path, moving northeastward, once again parallel to the coastline of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. Such systems do have a history of reemerging again over the Bay of Bengal and strengthening. However, that may not be true for this storm. The storm will weaken significantly after 6th December. Remnant energy may not suffice to make a comeback and the leftover system may get filled up over interior parts of Odisha.