Odisha Sun Times Weather Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Oct 10:
There is a difference of opinion between the Indian Meteorological Department and a number of American weather websites over the intensity and impact of the Cyclone Hudhud which is all set to hit the north Andhra and south Odisha coast on Saturday/ Sunday.
The US-based weather website Joint Typhoon Warning Centre (JTWC) forecasts Hudhud to be the equivalent of a category 3 hurricane as the storm nears the coast early Sunday, with peak winds of around 125 mph or over 201 km per hour or ven more because” sea surface temperature off the eastern India coast is very warm, and could support a much stronger cyclone.”
However, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) in its “cyclone alert” for the north coastal Andhra Pradesh and south Odisha coasts, describes the Hudhud as a very severe cyclonic storm and estimates its peak intensity to be between 135 to 155 km per hour— the equivalent of a category 1 ( 119-153 kmph) or category 2 (154-177 kmph) cyclonic storm.
The Washington Post in its report on Thursday says the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) tends to be conservative in its intensity forecasts. In 2013, when Cyclone Phalin threatened the coast, its forecasts were for a less intense storm than other meteorological organizations. “The truth ended up being somewhere in the middle,” the reports said.
The Washington Post report said Hudhud will bring serious impacts and there is a possibility of an intense storm surge. However it concedes the shape of the coast around the landfall location near Vishakhapatnam may reduce the storm surge risk:
” Cyclones like Hudhud push massive amounts of seawater toward land, raising the local level of the ocean and inundating coastal areas and densely populated river deltas. As with Phailin last year, local geography may help to limit the distance Hudhud’s surge pushes inland, should the storm stay on its current track,” the newspaper report said, adding, ” Nonetheless, Hudhud will be packing violent winds and torrential rain upon landfall. Forecast models suggest that widespread totals of eight to 10 inches of rain is possible, with local accumulation of 12 to 18 inches. This will undoubtedly cause major flooding in the state of Andhra Pradesh.”