Tropical Cyclone Fani is brewing in the far east of the Bay of Bengal. The storm threatens to strike the coast of southern India, with Tamil Nadu and Kerala amongst the regions at risk. The storm could hit in the coming days, with the risk stretching well into next week.
The IMD issued the alert on Thursday for Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Kerala and South Coastal Andhra Pradesh.
The warnings range from green to red, with the greatest risk falling on April 30 and May 1 for Tamil Nadu, Puducherry (see table below).
The IMD warning said an area of low pressure is lying over East Equatorial Indian Ocean and adjoining southeast Bay of Bengal.
It said the storm is “very likely” to intensify into a depression over the next 24 hours, and into a cyclonic storm in the next 48 hours.
The warning said the storm will likely move northwest off the east coast of Sri Lanka near the north Tamil Nadu coast on April 30.
The IMD is warning of Squally wind speed reaching 30 – 27 mph (35-45 km) gusting to 35 mph (55 km) likely over East Equatorial Indian Ocean and adjoining southeast Bay of Bengal on April 25.
This will gradually increase, over the weekend, peaking at 55 – 62 mph (90-100 km) with gusts of 71 mph (115 km) along the north Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and adjoining south Andhra Pradesh districts coasts on April 30.
Kerala will see wind speeds of 18 – 24 mph (30 – 40 km) with gusts up to 31 mph (50 km) beginning on April 29.
Conditions are likely to be rough over East Equatorial Indian Ocean the Bay of Bengal, as well as the coasts of Sri Lanka, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and adjoining south Andhra Pradesh.
The IMD has advised fishermen not to venture into deep sea areas in affected areas until after the threat has passed.
IMD’s Chennai regional director, S Balachandran said: “We are monitoring the system. Only on April 27 can we predict when and where the cyclone will make landfall.”
Though the IMD has not predicted the exact place where Cyclone Fani would make landfall, Nagapattinam-based private weather analyst Selva Kumar predicts that Cyclone Fani will cross the shore between Manamelkudi (Pudukottai district) and Adhirampattinam (Thanjavur district) coastal areas.
If the cyclone makes landfall, it will be the second one in the state within six months.
Cyclone Gaja struck in November, killing 63 people and destroying thousands of homes in Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Thiruvarur and Pudukkottai districts.