Saturday, November 23, 2013

Tropical Storm "Lehar" threatens India!

Akshay Deoras
Severe Weather Forecaster

With just over a month from the landfall of disastrous Category 5 cyclone Phailin  and just a few days after Tropical Storm Helen , the Bay of Bengal is all set to host another Tropical Cyclone which will be soon officially called as "Cyclone Lehar".. At METD WEATHER, Saffir Simpson Scale is followed and hence we have already named the area of deeply organised convection about 1560km SE of Vizag,Andhra Pradesh as Tropical Storm Lehar given the estimated maximum sustained winds of 35kt as of today morning. This Tropical Storm which at present lies in the periphery of land, The Andaman and Nicobar Islands is all set to pass dangerously between Little Andaman Island and Port Blair between late tonight, 24th Nov and morning of tomorrow,25th Nov 2013 as a "Tropical Storm category" with max winds reaching upto 100Km/hr accompanied by strong rains and storm surge likely upto 10ft.... Lets have a look at the dynamics of Tropical Storm Lehar in the Bay of Bengal-

Shown above is a composite view of Tropical Storm Lehar. The topmost simple Infrared view (top left) and IR-BD view (Top Right) clearly shows almost circular convection centre with cloud tops reaching upto -70C which is an indicator of organising convection and intensification of the system. Interesting thing to note in the lower images is the organising of outer bands- rain bands- banding feature around the LLCC (Low level circular centre) as can be inferred in the NRL images. The lack of symmetry is being attributed to the periphery of the land which isn't allowing the system to undergo rapid intensification stage as it churns in the sea having temperature of 29C...

A look at the wind profiles & dynamics show that Tropical Storm Lehar is being troubled by moderate wind shear of 30kt to the north and south of the centre and 20kt to its East disabling it to intensify robustly. Over the past 12hrs, convergence at the lower atmospheric profile has decreased slightly along with the poleward outflow which now stands to be 40kt peak as against 60kt peak 12hrs ago...

As the system steers North West slowly ( at present with a velocity of 17km/hr), after the encounter with Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the system shall get a clearance from land to intensify.

Shown above is the Sea Surface Temperature view via CIMSS.. Here Red colour represents Sea Surface Temperature of 30C, Orange shows 29C, yellow shows 27-28C. Thus the sea coupled with the moisture content will be favourable for intensification. But the question arises, will Tropical Storm Lehar reach a Category 5 status like Tropical Cyclone Phailin ??

The answer at the moment seems- NO

Here is the reason,

This is CIMSS view of the wind shear in knots across Bay of Bengal.. Here solid white lines indicate an increasing shear tendency: unfavourable for storm intensification. Over the Bay of Bengal, it seems the wind shears will remain considerably higher than they were during Phailin's time as a result this factor will always try to reduce the intensity but with other factors favourable, Tropical Storm Lehar shall intensify to atleast Category 2 although JTWC says it can go upto Category 3. As the sea few hundred kilometers offshore Odisha and Andhra Pradesh is slightly cooler, intensification may not be that high and hence for now, people shouldn't panic or compare this cyclone with Phailin or Supercyclone of 1999 or with the US hurricane like Katrina.

Where will it head ?

This is always a million dollar question. At the moment, the sub tropical ridge seems to be steering the system towards Indian coast but the area in North Bay of Bengal is being monitored for the development of high pressure at the lower levels (850mb or say 5000 ft AGL). If the high pressure forms in that region, the cyclone shall not move much North in its NW journey and in that case its region of landfall shall be south of Vizag in Andhra Pradesh on the morning of 28th Nov 2013, Thursday.. 

However as GFS 00z is showing, if the high pressure doesn't form, system under the influence of sub-tropical jet stream of India will curve a bit north and make a landfall near Brahmapur,Odisha- apparently at the same place like Cyclone Phailin on the morning of 28th Nov 2013, Thursday

Where ever it shall head, people living along the coastal line from Kakinada,AP till Brahmapur,Odisha shall pay attention towards the development of this system which will be covered on METD WEATHER's facebook page ( and on this blog also

Once the forecast becomes more clear, an alert map will be issued by METD WEATHER

*** Preparation*** 

Rough Sea of Bay of Bengal will start now onwards and will continue till Thursday,28th Nov. Fisherman are requested not to venture with their ships/boats.. 

VIA BOM,Australia (People of Andhra Pradesh-Odisha Coast must note) 

When a cyclone watch is issued

  • Re-check your property for any loose material and tie down (or fill with water) all large, relatively light items such as boats and rubbish bins.
  • Fill vehicles' fuel tanks. Check your emergency kit and fill water containers.
  • Ensure household members know which is the strongest part of the house and what to do in the event of a cyclone warning or an evacuation.
  • Tune to your local radio/TV for further information and warnings.
  • Check that neighbours are aware of the situation and are preparing.

No comments:

Post a Comment