Chennai in direct path of cyclone; southern Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry coasts may also see significant impact
Northern Tamil Nadu, southern Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry coasts have to be ready to face the worst impacts of Cyclone Mandous, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in its latest cyclone update. The cyclone is expected to make landfall during the late night hours of December 9, 2022 and early morning hours of December 10.
The cyclone is not a major storm but could still have significant impacts along the coast, especially in the city of Chennai, which currently lies in the direct path of the cyclone, the track of the cyclone shared by the weather agency showed.
As of the morning of December 8, the cyclone was 550 kilometres southeast of Chennai over warm sea waters (28 degrees Celsius) and was moving in a west-northwestward direction, the update noted.
It is likely to cross the coast somewhere between Puducherry and Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, with a maximum wind speed of 65-75 km/hour and gusts of upto 85 km/hr, IMD stated.
As the wind speeds are not fierce, the major impact of the storm would be in terms of rainfall. Down To Earth had earlier reported that the volume of rainfall in the coastal areas may be as high as 200 millimetres, that in interior areas may be 100-200 mm.
Some areas between Chennai and Puducherry may receive around 40 mm rainfall for every three hours, beginning in the afternoon of December 9 and lasting till the early morning hours of December 10, data from the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting forecast from the weather visualisation platform windy.com showed.
IMD has placed Tamil Nadu under ‘red alert’, which indicates that action needs to be taken by authorities for extreme rainfall on December 9. Andhra Pradesh has been placed under ‘orange alert’, which indicates that authorities need to be on guard to be able to take action.
For December 10, there is an orange alert for Tamil Nadu and the Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh.
Another impact of the cyclone could be in terms of storm surge, which is the increase in the height of tidal waves during a storm or cyclone. This occurs as the accompanying winds of the cyclone transfer some of their exuberance to the sea tides.
IMD has predicted a maximum storm surge of 0.5m above the astronomical tide, which could inundate the low-lying areas along the coast of north Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
The weather agency has also indicated that the storm surge could be maximum in the region around Thiruvidanthai village in Tamil Nadu.
If Chennai gets flooded due to the rainfall from Cyclone Mandous, then it would be the third urban flood in the city in a matter of a month. The earlier floods were recorded on November 1 and November 10, due to extreme rainfall events over the city.
Chennai received 140 mm rainfall on November 1, which was the city’s highest for the day in 30 years. November rainfall for Chennai was the third-highest on record, according to media reports.
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