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Odisha storm watch: No unanimity over Hudhud’s power when it strikes north Andhra coast

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Odisha Sun Times Weather Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Oct 11:

As cyclone Hudud gets closer to its collision point near Vishakhapatnam, people and administration both in north Andhra Pradesh and south Odisha continue to be on tenterhooks as there seems to be no unanimity over the intensity of the storm or its fallouts during the landfall.

However, all weather experts agree that the storm will weaken considerably within 12 hours of its landfall and dissipate within the next 48 hours. But what is of far greater interest to all is the power and intensity of the system when it strikes land. For, that would determine the extent of damage not only to the areas in Andhra Pradesh that come in its way but also the areas in south Odisha which come under the cyclonic ring.

Satellite pic of Hudhud showing its eye
Satellite pic of Hudhud showing its eye

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has so far maintained that the very severe cyclonic storm Hudhud would turn out to be a Category 1 (119-154 kmph) storm. The IMD prediction is that at the time of the landfall, the wind power of the storm will be 130-140 kmph, gusting to a maximum of 165 kmph. However, the final round of IMD predictions with regard to the intensity and power of the storm, which is expected by the evening today, may see a upward revision of the wind speed.

On the other hand the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre (JTWC), one of the most trusted weather warning stations and followed by the US Navy paints a different and far more horrific picture of the impending storm’s impact.

In its prediction, the JTWC has said, “Favorable upper-level conditions will persist, allowing Hudhud to steadily intensify, peaking at 110 knots ( around 203 kmph ), gusting to 135 knots (250 kmph) prior to landfall near Vishakhapatnam on October 12 forenoon. After landfall, Hudhud will rapidly erode due to land interaction and dissipate in the next 48 hours. The maximum significant wave height under its influence has been estimated at 24 feet, by the US- based JTWC.

Tropical Storm Risk, a leading weather warning site dedicated to storm tracking says Hudhud could turn into a Category 3 storm -which means a wind power of 178-208 km per hour at the time of landfall.

Meteorologists at the US-based weather site AccuWeather.com believe that this developing cyclone, now equivalent of a Category 1 hurricane with winds sustained at 120 kph (75 mph), will likely become stronger as it tracks west-northwest across the Bay of Bengal in an environment that will allow the storm to strengthen into the strongest cyclone of the year in the northern Indian Ocean.

Areas from Kakinada in northern Andhra Pradesh northward to Ratanpur in Odisha should closely monitor this potential cyclone for possible impacts into Saturday. Flooding rain and damaging winds will be possible, the site said.

Rainfall amounts in excess of 150 mm (about 6 inches) are possible near where Hudhud is expected to make landfall, including the city of Vishkahapatnam.
Once making landfall, the system is expected to weaken again quickly as it is cut off from the warm water source of the Bay of Bengal. The cyclone will continue to bring heavy rain to interior portions of India.

“Areas in central India, near Nagpur, will see the smaller rain amounts as beneficial,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Jason Nicholls said. “This region is one area that has seen less monsoonal moisture than usual this season.”