Cyclone Asani brings heavy rain but storm forecast to weaken

Disaster management authorities prepared for worst-case scenarios as bad weather nears coast

A man runs through heavy rain in Kolkata, India. A tropical depression continued during Cyclone Asani and heavy rainfall hit West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. EPA

Heavy rain and strong winds lashed parts of India’s southern Andhra Pradesh state on Tuesday as the severe Cyclone Asani, which is raging in the Bay of Bengal, moved closer to the state’s coast.

The tropical cyclone, which was named by Sri Lanka — its name translates to ‘Wrath’ from Sinhalese — has been brewing over India’s east coast, causing heavy rain and squally winds of up to 60kph.

But weather experts have predicted the severe cyclone will weaken into a cyclonic storm in the next 24 hours and is unlikely to make landfall.

On Monday, the cyclone was moving at a speed of 25kph but had slowed to 5kph by Tuesday.

It is expected to recurve later on Tuesday night and move north, parallel to the coastline

The India Meteorological Department said the storm was likely to "reach the West Central Bay of Bengal off North Andhra Pradesh coast".

The weather office has issued a warning of a “very high” sea condition for Tuesday that will become “very rough” by Thursday before improving.

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Teams of disaster management personnel will be braced for rescue and relief operations at several coastal areas of the southern state, as Asani nears the coast, the Andhra Pradesh State Disaster Management Authority (APSDMA) said.

Several flights in the coastal state were cancelled after authorities suspended air services as a precautionary measure.

Operations at the international airport in Visakhapatnam were affected due to the effects of the cyclone and various flights were sent back due to the bad weather.

“The impact would not be that strong but we have made all the preparations," Dr MM Ali, head of emergency operations at APSDMA, told The National. "It is expected to rain heavily with a gusty wind by the evening."

Fishing operations have been suspended and fishermen have been advised to not venture into the sea.

On Monday night 11 fishermen were rescued from neighbouring off the coast of Odisha state after being stranded for more than eight hours. The group had gone to Visakhapatnam to buy a fishing boat and become stuck at sea about 5 kilometres off the coast.

The weather office has issued a warning of heavy to very heavy rainfall in isolated places in Odisha for the next two days. Authorities have suspended tourism activities in coastal areas and beaches in the state until Friday.

Several parts of the West Bengal states have also been deluged by heavy rain.

Updated: May 10, 2022, 12:09 PM
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