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Earliest April Storm Likely Over Bay Of Bengal, Heavy Rain Over Bay Islands

April 5, 2022 6:16 PM |

Stormy season has commenced for the Indian Seas with pre monsoon conditions building up over the Indian sub continent.  Month of March is mostly sparing for both, Bay of Bengal(BoB) and Arabian Sea (AS).  Since 1901, only 6 storms formed  in March and all of them over BoB  and none striking the Indian coastline.

Month of April also is  not favorite period for tropical storms over Indian Seas. However, the frequency of storms have surely increased in the last 2 decades or so.  Most of these storms develop during 2nd half of the month and majority of them in the last week between 25th- 30thApril.  Since 1891, only 5 tropical cyclones have formed before 15thApril and the last in the list being ‘Bijli’. 

This storm formed between 14th-17thApril, came very close to the Odisha coast but recurved and turned away on 16thApril to head for Bangladesh. It weakened to a depression before striking Chittagong on 17thApril morning. Earlier, all 4 ports of Odisha, namely Gopalpur, Puri, Paradeep and Chandbali were placed on high alert but escaped fury of storm.

Since 2000, total of 5 tropical storms have formed in the month of April over Bay of Bengal.  Out of these, 3 became Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm (ESCS) namely : Mala (2006), Nargis ( 2008 ), Fani (2019). Remaining 2 just achieved the initial grade of Cyclonic Storm (CS): Bijli (2009), Maarutha (2017).  Cyclone Fani is the only exception to make a landfall over coastline of Odisha, near Puri.  

All other storms headed for Bangladesh and Myanmar. ESCS Mala was a Cat IV equivalent of hurricane with a peak wind speed of 185km/h. It weakened to Cat-I storm before making landfall in Myanmar’s Rakhine state on April 29.  Nargis struck Irrawaddy delta of Myanmar with unprecedented intensity on 02ndMay.

There is a low pressure area likely to form over the South Andaman Sea in the next 48hr. This will strengthen further while moving westward, initially.  Heavy to very heavy rains are expected over the Bay Islands over the next 72hr. Observational watch will begin to monitor the track, intensity and timelines of this weather system. At this moment, it is little early to comment on its prognostication. 

There is fair amount of chance for this to become 1st cyclone of this month in the Bay of Bengal. Most of these do spare the Indian coastline but exceptions always remain like ‘FANI’. In case of an eventuality of storm, coastal parts of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh will be at risk, to start with. Afterall, these storms  live to their repute of being notorious for defying  timelines, intensity and track.  ‘Fingers crossed’.

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