Phethai to soak eastern India, Bangladesh into Tuesday

By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
By Adam Douty, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
December 18, 2018, 3:18:05 AM EST


Tropical Rainstorm Phethai made landfall in eastern India on Monday and will track northeast bringing damaging winds and flooding rainfall to the country into Tuesday.

The warm waters of the Bay of Bengal aided in the storm strengthening into a severe cyclonic storm (the equivalent of a strong tropical storm in the Atlantic or Pacific ocean) over the weekend prior to making landfall.

The outer rainbands of the storm began to bring rain to northern Andhra Pradesh and southern Orissa on Sunday and rainfall had totaled 25-75 mm (1-3 inches) in some areas by the time the storm made landfall on Monday.

India1 12/17


While weakening will continue as the storm tracks over land, it can still deliver flooding rainfall, locally damaging winds and potentially dangerous mudslides to parts of eastern India and Bangladesh.

"Northern Andhra Pradesh can receive 100-200 mm (4-8 inches) of rain with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 300 mm (12 inches) from the storm," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Houk.

That can lead to numerous incidents of flash flooding in cities such as Kakinada and Visakhapatnam.

As the storm races northeastward heavy rain will spread across Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkland, West Bengal and much of Bangladesh into Tuesday.

These areas can expect rainfall amounts of 50-100 mm (2-4 inches) with locally higher amounts possible.

Streams and rivers may overflow their banks and flood neighboring land and homes. Roads can become flooded and closed, which can cause major travel disruptions.

Even in the absence of any flooding, heavy rain can create hazards for motorists by dramatically reducing visibility and heightening the risk of vehicles hydroplaning when traveling at highway speeds.

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Despite the storm weakening after landfall, wind gusts of 65 km/h (40 mph) can cause localized damage along the storm's track in Odisha into Tuesday morning. The winds can also down trees and cause power outages.

Further weakening will end the risk for damaging winds by Tuesday afternoon as the storm approaches West Bengal and Bangladesh.

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