Parts of eastern India are preparing for torrential rains and high winds as a tropical cyclone warning is in effect off the coast of Andhra Pradesh, while other parts of the country face extreme heat.
While the cyclone may bring some relief from the heat, it will be too far away to hit most of the country — and could make the heat worse for some.
Severe Cyclone Asani is in the Bay of Bengal, with winds from 100 to 110 km/h (62 to 68 mph) and higher gusts, making it equivalent to a tropical storm. It should make landfall early Wednesday morning (Tuesday evening ET) on India’s east coast Joint Typhoon Warning Center said.
As the storm moves in a northwesterly direction, areas along the central coast of eastern India will feel widespread wind and rain effects.
Asani is the second storm to hit India this season. The first storm, which hit southern India in March, was not named.
Slow-moving storm could cause catastrophic rain
By Thursday, the storm will most likely begin to curve more northeasterly, moving along the coast and hitting Odisha.
Interacting with land, the storm will gradually subside, although it will still produce quite a bit of rain as it slows down.
“Now that Asani’s forward speed has slowed significantly, extended periods of heavy rainfall are possible along the coast, increasing the likelihood of flooding,” said CNN meteorologist Chad Myers.
When it comes to death and destruction with tropical cyclones, rain is an important factor to consider.
†Slow-moving storms are often catastrophic because of the amount of rain they can bring,” said CNN meteorologist Taylor Ward.
Parts of the Indian coast, near the storm’s landfall site, could see as much as 150mm (6 inches) of rain in the coming days.
Asani’s cloud cover could provide some relief from the heat along parts of the coast. However, the storm could also mean those further inland will see temperatures rise.
Not enough to relieve scorching temperatures
This storm arrives amid a relentless heat wave that is hitting much of central India. Temperatures there rose as high as 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) on Tuesday.
Severe heat wave conditions will continue as temperatures could rise another 2 to 3 degrees Celsius in the coming days, according to the India Meteorological Service†
This heat wave continues a relentless April heat wave in parts of the country, including New Delhi.
“They experienced 19 days out of the month with a high temperature of more than 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit), which is well above their average high temperature in April of 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit),” CNN said. meteorologist Robert Shakelford. “This heat was also significant as it was the hottest April for northwest India, well above their normal April.”
Asani can exacerbate the heat wave due to the effect of rapidly rising air in and around the eye, or the low pressure center, and falling air and higher pressure along the periphery.
“This will limit cloud formation, leading to full sun and global warming,” said CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller. “It will bring rain and cooler temperatures to the areas it affects, but for central and northern/western parts (of India) it would exacerbate the heat wave.”
The only relief for the rest of India will come with the onset of monsoons.
The start of the monsoon season
Cyclones usually don’t occur during the monsoon season because too much wind shear — strong top-level winds that tear tropical systems apart — in the atmosphere hinders development.
However, during the start of the season, cyclones can develop while wind shear is still quite weak.
While the monsoon – which provides relief from the relentless heat – will reach India’s southernmost regions in late May, it normally does not reach New Delhi until early July, leaving plenty of room for more days of dangerous heat.