Tropical Cyclone "Vardah" formed on December 7, 2016, in the southeastern Bay of Bengal. The, currently, slow-moving storm is eyeing the south-central India and is expected to make landfall on December 12. Heavy rainfalls, strong winds, and rough seas are expected, and residents have been warned accordingly.
Vardah has already brought heavy rainfall to Andaman and Nicobar Islands as a deep depression. Hut Bay recorded 166 mm (6.5 inches) of rainfall on December 6, while Port Blair recorded 76 mm (3 inches) of rainfall on December 7. More than 1 400 tourists were stranded on the Havelock and Neil islands of the archipelago.
The system was located about 1 222.3 km (759.5 miles) south of Chittagong, Bangladesh, and moving slowly north-northwestward at 3.7 km/h (2.3 mph) on December 8, at 09:00 UTC, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC).
It was packing maximum sustained winds of 83.3 km/h (51.8 mph) with gusts up to 101.9 km/h (63.3 mph) while its minimum central pressure was estimated at 1 003 hPa.
Tropical Cyclone "Vardah" approaching India, December 8, 2016. Image credit: NASA/Suomi NPP/VIIRS
Tropical Cyclone "Vardah", December 8, 11:30 UTC. Image credit: UW-CIMSS
Over the next 48 hours, Vardah is expected to intensify into a very severe cyclonic storm, equivalent to a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale. Its maximum sustained winds will reach 129.6 km/h (80.5 mph) with gusts climbing to 157.4 km/h (97.8 mph). After that, the cyclone will start to weaken down again as it approaches the eastern coast of south-central India.
Vardah is expected to make landfall over the Andhra Pradesh coast between Nellore and Kakinada around afternoon or evening of December 12 (local time), according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD). Rapid dissipation is expected following the landfall, due to land interaction with rugged terrain.
ICYMI: organzing tropical invest 99 across the Eastern Bay of Bengal, models generally agree on a nw track towards India next 5 days pic.twitter.com/ojIJVD1Rrz— NWS OPC (@NWSOPC) December 7, 2016
IMD has issued heavy rainfall and wind warning. Light to moderate rainfall is expected in most areas while heavy to very heavy rainfall is expected to affect several locations over the Andaman Islands and isolated places over the Nicobar Islands over the next 24 hours. Light to moderate rainfall with isolated events of heavy rainfall will start to affect the coastal Andhra Pradesh on the evening of December 11 (local time).
Winds between 45 and 55 km/h (28 and 34.2 mph) with gusts up to 65 km/h (40.4 mph) will affect the Andaman Islands and neighboring sea areas over the next 24 hours. The Nicobar Islands and adjoining seas can expect the windy conditions in the next 12 hours. Winds between 40 and 50 km/h (24.8 and 31 mph) with gusts reaching 60 km/h (37.3 mph) are expected along and off Andhra Pradesh coast, as of December 11 later in the night (local time).
Tropical Cyclone Vardah 6-day forecast track. Image credit: JTWC
Rough and very rough seas are expected along and off the Andaman Islands and neighboring sea areas over the next day while the Nicobar Islands and the adjoining seas can expect rough seas in the next 12 hours. Rough and very rough seas are also predicted along and off Andhra Pradesh coast, as of the night of December 11 (local time).
The IMD has advised the fishermen not to venture into sea along and off the Andaman Islands and the neighboring seas over the next 24 hours. The seas at the Nicobar Islands and the adjoining seas should be avoided over the next 12 hours. Fishermen are also urged not to venture into seas along and off Andhra Pradesh as of December 10 (local time), and to return to the coast by the date, if currently at sea.
Featured image: Tropical Cyclone "Vardah" approaching India, December 8, 2016. Image credit: NASA/Suomi NPP/VIIRS