OST Weather Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Oct 12:( 07.00 PM)
Phailin is now barely 20 kms away from Gopalpur and the landfall is likely to happen around by 7.30 pm. The wind speed at the time of landfall, according to Met department, may reach 220 kmph with gusts touching 240 kmph.
However weather experts in the West who have been monitoring the system see a slight weakening of the storm as it hits the coast.
Eric Leister,meteorologist at the Accuweather,USA says,”Destructive winds well over 160 kph (100 mph) and flooding rain of at least 100-200 mm (4-8 inches) is expected across a wide area. There will be a crippling storm surge of 4-6 meters (14-20 feet), as well as wind gusts over 300 kph, near the landfall point of Phailin.”
Interestingly Leister points out, “For much of Friday night into early Saturday afternoon, Phailin had been the equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane or super typhoon, but the storm began structural reorganization known as an “eyewall replacement cycle,” a process that can temporarily weaken a tropical cyclone.”
Satellite data from University of Wisconsin-CIMSS estimates that Phailin has recently weakened to around 215 kph (130 mph), the equivalent of a minimal category 4 tropical storm.
The Joint Typhoon Warning Centre (JTWC) of the US Navy has also indicated a slight weakening of the very severe cyclonic storm, Phailin which is closing in on the Orissa coast.
The latest JTWC bulletin said there has been ” a slight weakening of the deep convections surrounding the eye of the storm. Cloud top temperatures have been warming up over the past 6 hours and supports the recent decrease in intensity of the storm,” something that could result in the reduction in the wind speed, if not significantly.
Despite the weakening trend, Phailin remains an extremely dangerous storm with severe impacts to lives and property, it cautioned.