If the low-pressure area intensifies into a cyclone, this would be the third cyclone of 2022
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted the formation of a low-pressure area in the south Andaman Sea December 5 but has not given any information on its further intensification.
“I do see a storm forming around December 5 and right now it seems to go northwest towards Tamil Nadu,” Raghu Murtugudde, a climate scientist at the University of Maryland, told Down To Earth.
It is presently unclear how strong it will get, said Murtugudde, who is also a visiting professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.
“But the northeast monsoon has been weak over the east coast with much of the rain occurring right down the interior — consistent with the La Niña pressure pattern which is also bringing colder temperatures into the peninsula and rain over Bengaluru,” he added.
This weak vertical shear — which are vertical winds around the cyclone which could disrupt the formation and intensification of the cyclone — could favour a cyclone or a tropical storm, according to Murtugudde.
“We need to watch carefully for rapid intensification and the track as usual. These can never be taken lightly,” he added.
A cyclone is forming and moving towards the Tamil Nadu coast, showed data from the Global Forecasting System of the United States and the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, as represented on the weather visualisation website Windy.com.
However, this may be too early to conclude anything. If the low-pressure area intensifies into a cyclone, this would be the third cyclone of 2022 and the second for the normal cyclone season of October-December.
The first cyclone of the season, Sitrang, formed October 23 and made a surprising landfall along the Bangladesh coast around 9 pm October 24.
Both the formation and landfall of the cyclone took meteorologists and the administration of Bangladesh and India by surprise.
The cyclone moved rapidly throughout its existence but sped up by leaps and bounds just before landfall. In the last six hours before landfall, the cyclone was moving at a breakneck speed of 56 km/hr, according to IMD.
Meteorologists would be keeping a close watch on the new cyclone that would be named Mandous when it forms, for similar unusual characteristics.
Even then, the cyclone season has been quite calm this year — a trend that is continuing from last year when there was just one cyclone in the entire season.
“We need to figure this out, especially in the context that the total number of cyclones may still be decreasing in a warmer world,” said Murtugudde.
In fact, tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic have also been not as frequent this season, which is known for its frequent and intense storms.
July and August this year had no named storm in the Atlantic despite it being a La Niña which was unexpected (first time since 1941), said Murtugudde.
“But then we had freak storms like Ian, Fiona, Nicole and so on that caused serious damage over Cuba, the US and Canada,” added Murtugudde.
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.