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Vayu to unleash drenching downpours in northwest India as brief heat relief visits Pakistan

By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
June 19, 2019, 12:26:09 AM EDT

India avoided a direct hit from former Tropical Cyclone Vayu; however, the northwest parts of the country will still be at risk for flash flooding into Wednesday.

Vayu weakened into a depression on Monday and is now a tropical rainstorm as it moves inland across northwest India.

Prior to weakening, Vayu took a sharp turn to the west, sparing Gujarat from a direct hit from the strongest cyclone to threaten the region in 20 years.

India 6/18


Vayu will produce showers and thunderstorms with locally heavy rainfall from eastern Gujarat to far eastern Rajasthan, western Madhya Pradesh and western Uttar Pradesh.

Most locations will receive less than 25 mm (1 inch) of rainfall; however, the hardest-hit locations can pick up more than 100 mm (4 inches) of rainfall in less than 24 hours.

Despite the risk for flooding, the downpours will be a welcome sight for most locations, with the monsoon projected to be delayed well beyond its normal start date across northwest India.

Vayu AP 6/17

An Indian woman runs for shelter during rain in Ahmadabad, India, Saturday, June 15, 2019. Cyclone Vayu battered part of India's Arabian Sea coast and forced evacuations in coastal communities in Gujarat state.(AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)


The monsoon typically advances to most of Madhya Pradesh by the middle of June, the NCR by the end of June and central Rajasthan by July 1.

"This year, the monsoon may not start until the final week of June into the start of July in Madhya Pradesh," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls, who first warned that the monsoon would be slow to advance across northern India back in April.

"It may take until July 3-9, and likely closer to the latter part of that time frame, for the monsoon to be declared in the NCR and then mid-July for western Rajasthan," Nicholls added.

The monsoon is vital for the region's water supply and agricultural industry; however, residents are faced with the hazards of severe flooding, landslides and lightning strikes each monsoon. Hundreds of people have been killed each year amid the monsoon downpours.

While flooding will be the most widespread concern, thunderstorms also can produce locally damaging winds and result in dust storms through Wednesday.

India cyclone June 13 AP

Waves crash on the coast of the Arabian Sea in Veraval, Gujarat, India, on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)


Vayu has also brought a brief reprieve from the intense heat that has gripped northwest India and much of Pakistan this month.

Temperatures only reached 32-33 C (90-92 F) in New Delhi on Monday, well below the normal high temperature of 38 C (100 F) expected in mid-June.

Temperatures will be at or below normal across the NCR into Thursday before another surge of heat arrives from Friday into next week.

Karachi also saw temperatures dip from around 42 C (107 F) on Thursday to 36-37 C (96-99 F) on Sunday and Monday.

Seasonable heat and humidity will prevail across Karachi this week; however, interior locations of Pakistan will see temperatures increase once again late this week into next week.

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Vayu became the strongest cyclone to track this close to Gujarat since an extreme severe cyclonic storm made landfall near India's border with Pakistan in May 1999. The previous year, a very severe cyclonic storm slammed into Gujarat near Porbandar in June.

While the most destructive winds and torrential rain remained just offshore, bands of heavy rain and strong winds skirted the coast.

There has been a preliminary report of a gust to 114 km/h (71 mph) at Dhamrej. A gust of nearly 93 km/h (58 mph) was measured at Porbandar along the coast on Thursday afternoon, local time.

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