India, Sri Lanka to face dual tropical threats into next week
Very Severe Cyclonic Storm Ockhi and second brewing tropical threat will combine to threaten parts of India and Sri Lanka with flooding and mudslides into next week.
Ockhi developed west of Sri Lanka on Thursday, local time, and has produced rounds of heavy rainfall across the country and neighboring parts of southern India since early in the week.
While Ockhi will gradually track northwestward away from land, tropical moisture will continue to get funneled across southern India and Sri Lanka and trigger daily downpours into Saturday.
The heaviest rain is expected across Sri Lanka and southern and central Tamil Nadu as well as southern Kerala in India. This includes areas from Puducherry, Madurai and Kochi southward.
Rainfall of 50-100 mm (2-4 inches) will be common with local amounts reaching 200 mm (8 inches). Local flash flooding and mudslides may result.
Lighter rainfall will expand farther north and impact locations from Chennai to Bengaluru, Coimbatore and Kozhikode.
These areas will get generally less than 50 mm (2 inches) of rainfall through Saturday before drier air moves in later in the weekend.
Ockhi is expected to remain a very severe cyclonic storm (the equivalent of a Category 1 or 2 hurricane in the Atlantic or eastern Pacific oceans) over the warm waters of the Arabian Sea by this weekend.
Rain, wind and seas will increase around Ockhi's center as it strengthens. While the worst of the rain and wind will remain well offshore of southern India, the dangers to boaters and swimmers will gradually expand across the Arabian Sea through this weekend.
Ockhi may approach Gujarat by the middle of next week but is expected to dramatically weaken by this time. At most, a few showers may stream onshore.
While Ockhi tracks away from southern India, attention will then turn toward a new tropical threat brewing in the southern Andaman Sea.
"This budding tropical system may prove to be more impactful than Cyclonic Storm Ockhi as it could eventually make landfall in India," AccuWeather Meteorologist Adam Douty said.
Tropical development is possible by the weekend near the Andaman and Nicobar islands in the Bay of Bengal.
This potential cyclone will then have an opportunity to organize further and strengthen as it crosses the southern Bay of Bengal this weekend.
The eastern coast of India will be at risk for impacts from the tropical cyclone by the middle of next week, with areas from Tamil Nadu to Andhra Pradesh at highest risk for flooding and winds strong enough to cause sporadic power outages and damage to trees and weak structures.
If tropical development is delayed, impacts to India may not commence until later next week.
Sri Lanka may also face a renewed risk for flooding and mudslides is the storm tracks far enough to the south.
Depending on the storm's exact track into India, flooding rainfall could then extend inland across southern India or spread northward into Telangana, Chhattisgarh and Odisha after landfall.
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