India: Cyclone Ockhi to bring downpours to Gujarat, Rajasthan; New tropical threat brewing in Bay of Bengal

By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
December 06, 2017, 4:49:22 AM EST

Deep Depression Ockhi will bring downpours and the threat for flooding to parts of northwestern India into Wednesday.

The tropical cyclone which killed at least 25 people last week in southern India, according to the Indian Express, reached a peak intensity equal to that of a category two hurricane in the Atlantic and east Pacific Oceans this past weekend.

The cyclone is expected to weaken further over the next 12 hours as it approaches the coastline of Gujarat state and will likely be a depression at landfall with winds less than 50 km/h (31 mph).

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There will be no threat for strong winds farther inland as Ockhi continues to weaken and dissipates over northwest India by Wednesday.

While the storm is expected to weaken, downpours will still elevate the risk for flooding across much of Gujarat and eastern Rajasthan.

These areas can see 50-100 mm (2-4 inches) of rainfall with local amounts up to 150 mm (6 inches).

While this amount of rainfall is common during the peak of the monsoon season; rainfall averages less than 5 mm (0.20 of an inch) across this region during the entire month of December.

In fact, 2008 was the last time that Rajkot received measurable rain in the month of December.

Coastal and far northern parts of Maharashtra and western Madhya Pradesh will also be at risk for locally heavy rainfall.

The Maharashtra government declared a holiday for schools in Mumbai and adjoining districts on Tuesday due to potential impacts from Cyclone Ockhi, according to The Times of India.

Downpours swept across Mumbai totaling 25-50 mm (1-2 inches) on Tuesday. Hail was also reported in the area.

Conditions are expected to improve across Mumbai Tuesday night.

Rainfall from Ockhi is not expected to reach New Delhi and the National Capital Region.

Conditions will improve across the remainder of northwest India on Wednesday; however, a new tropical threat will cross the Bay of Bengal and target eastern India during the second half of the week.

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An area of tropical low pressure currently west of the Andaman and Nicobar islands will track northwest this week across the Bay of Bengal and likely become a depression on Wednesday.

Some strengthening is possible into Thursday as the tropical system continues to track northwest over the open Bay of Bengal.

“The main threat will be heavy rain and flooding, as this system will weaken dramatically prior to reaching the east coast of India later this week.,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls.

While the center of the storm will be well offshore, rain will reach the coast of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha as early as Thursday with more widespread downpours possible Thursday night into Saturday.

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Northeast Andhra Pradesh, eastern Odisha and southern West Bengal will be at highest risk for flooding due to repeated downpours into Friday. This includes Puri, Kakinada and Visakhapatnam.

Rainfall amounts up to 150 mm (6 inches) will be possible in the hardest hit areas and result in flooding, travel disruption and an elevated risk for mudslides.

Scattered showers and thunderstorms will remain a threat into this weekend; however, the risk for flooding will become isolated.

Downpours will also threaten southern Bangladesh with flooding from Friday into the weekend. Rainfall of 25-75 mm (1-3 inches) is expected.

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