High Wind Watch

Potential tropical cyclone may impact India during mid-December

By Adam Douty, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
December 11, 2018, 2:36:36 AM EST

An area of disturbed weather in the Bay of Bengal may develop into a tropical cyclone later this week and could impact southern India this weekend.

Several days of largely dry weather across southern India into Friday will allow residents to prepare for potential impacts and evacuations from the storm.

The low pressure system in the Bay of Bengal may strengthen into a tropical depression or cyclonic storm by mid to late week. As it nears the coast of southeast India, regardless of strength, it will likely bring areas of rain and thunderstorms with the risk for flooding and mudslides.

India 12/10

Should it organize into a cyclonic storm, the name Phethai would be given to the tropical system.

In this scenario, an area of intense wind and rain would occur near where the storm makes landfall and may spread inland as the storm moves northwestward and weakens.

Based on the current forecast, areas from northern Tamil Nadu into southern Andhra Pradesh are most at risk for impacts from a land-falling tropical cyclone this weekend.

While wind damage will likely be confined to areas close to the coast, downpours may spread far inland and bring the risk for localized flooding to much of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana on Saturday and Sunday.

A few downpours may also reach Orissa and Chhattisgarh, bringing brief travel disruptions.

Another concern is that increasing wind around the system is expected to churn up seas across the southern Bay of Bengal. Fisherman in southeast India will have to use extra caution later this week and into the weekend as seas become dangerously rough.

Bathers will also be at risk due to increased surf and rip currents along the coast of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

India Weather Center
Detailed forecast for Chennai
Indian Ocean Tropical Discussion

The northeast monsoon has brought lower-than-normal rainfall across much of southern India so far this season, so much of the rainfall will be welcome. However, areas near and just north of the storm's track will be at risk for dangerous flooding and mudslides.

If this system takes a track far enough to the south, Sri Lanka may also be targeted with heavy rainfall and strong wind. However, this appears less likely at this time.

Residents of southern India, including in Chennai and Puducherry, should be alert for rapidly changing conditions late this week and into the weekend. Travel could be delayed, and outdoor activities may be disrupted.

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