Natural Disasters

Cyclone Gaja to make landfall in Tamil Nadu on November 15

IMD issues cyclone warning for north coastal Tamil Nadu and south coastal Andhra Pradesh from November 14 onwards

 
By Akshit Sangomla
Last Updated: Monday 12 November 2018
Cyclone
A representational photo of a cyclone in the Bay of Bengal       Credit: Wikimedia Commons A representational photo of a cyclone in the Bay of Bengal Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a cyclone warning for north coastal Tamil Nadu and south coastal Andhra Pradesh regions from November 14 onwards as Cyclone Gaja is expected to make landfall a day later.

The IMD has issued an orange alert (be prepared) for north Tamil Nadu on November 14 and a red alert (take action) on November 15.

Gaja currently lies around 730 km north-east from Chennai in the Bay of Bengal and is expected to move in the west and southwest direction, intensifying further into a severe cyclonic storm. The IMD predicts that Gaja will reduce in strength into a cyclonic storm and make landfall on November 15 somewhere between Nagapattinam and Chennai in North Tamil Nadu.

The cyclone will cause heavy to very heavy rainfall all over coastal Tamil Nadu on November 14, 15 and 16. There is a possibility of extremely heavy rainfall (>= 200 mm) at isolated places on November 15. There will also be heavy rainfall in some places in south coastal Andhra Pradesh from November 14 to November 16. The IMD has also issued an orange alert for Kerala on November 16 where it expects heavy to very heavy rainfall on the day. 

Cyclone Gaja was originally formed off the coast of Thailand, on the Malay Peninsula on November 9 as a low pressure area. In the subsequent days, it moved across Thailand, into the Andaman Sea and intensified into a depression and then a deep depression, eventually transforming into a cyclone as it moved in the Bay of Bengal.

“There is nothing unusual about the formation or track of the cyclone. The cyclonic system has been showing up in our models for more than a week now,” P Mukhopadhyay, senior scientist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) Pune, told Down to Earth.

“Usually, such cyclones are formed when remnants of typhoons from the Pacific Ocean come into the Indian Ocean or the Bay of Bengal and re-intensify into cyclones when they find warm ocean waters in these regions. The track of the cyclone is also usually directed towards North Tamil Nadu in the initial stages”, says Mukhopadhyay.

Cyclone Gaja could have formed from a remnant of Supertyphoon Yutu, which had devastated the Philippines in the last week of October. 

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