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Tropical Storm to bring heavy rain and flooding to India and Sri Lanka this week

By By Eric Leister, AccuWeather Meteorologist
May 20, 2016, 2:44:54 AM EDT

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The first tropical cyclone of the season in the Bay of Bengal will track near the east coast of India this week, leading to additional flooding and widespread travel delays.

The depression, named BOB 01, currently has sustained winds of 75-92 km/h (45-55 mph). Gradual strengthening is expected over the next 24 hours.

As the cyclone spins near the coast of India, heavy rain will fall in northeastern Tamil Nadu and eastern Andhra Pradesh through at least Thursday.


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Due to the close proximity to land, AccuWeather meteorologists think that there is a minimal threat for this low to become a significant tropical cyclone. However, the flood threat will not diminish.

Through Thursday, widespread rainfall of 100-200 mm (4-8 inches) of rain is expected across the region.

The heaviest rain will fall from Chennai to Machilipatnam. These areas could see locally 300 mm (12 inches) of rain.


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In Chennai, where the worst flooding in a century brought the city to a stand still in December, the heaviest rain will fall through Wednesday before drier weather returns late in the week. Flooding this week is not expected to be as severe as December's event; however, travel delays are likely. Rainfall has already surpassed 100 mm (4 inches) in the city.

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Heavy rain will also fall across Kerala and western Sri Lanka where downpours will continue into Thursday. Drenching rain has caused flooding in these areas and additional downpours will elevate the threat of flooding and mudslides.

The 2015 monsoon brought below-average rainfall to Kerala, so this early-season rainfall is needed across the region, despite the dangers. May is typically when southern India and Sri Lanka have an increase in rain from tropical lows and cyclones, which tend to develop during the leading edge of the monsoon.


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Widespread flooding is ongoing across Sri Lanka with some areas already reporting more than 250 mm (10 inches) of rain, including the capital of Colombo where rainfall has surpassed 350 mm (13.90 inches).

At least eleven people were killed in flooding and mudslides, while more than 130,000 have been forced out of their homes, according to The Associated Press.

The depression is expected to turn northeast late this week and into this weekend as the heaviest rain shifts from India into Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Meteorologist Adam Douty contributed content to this story.

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