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(TWC Met Team)

Friday, October 21: With Cyclone Sitrang’s formation process in the Bay of Bengal already underway, its impact on the Indian mainland — particularly the eastern, northeastern and southern parts of the country — is now imminent. However, some states will have to bear the brunt more than others, as they face the prospect of dampened Diwali celebration due to the extreme weather.

Cyclone Sitrang update: Landfall likely near West Bengal-Bangladesh coast

As per the India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) latest update, the system currently exists as a low-pressure area over north Andaman Sea and the adjoining areas of south Andaman Sea and southeast Bay of Bengal.

From here, it is likely to move west-northwestwards and concentrate into a depression over east-central and adjoining southeast BoB around October 22, and then into a deep depression on October 23.

Thereafter, it is expected to recurve northwards and intensify into a Cyclonic Storm over west-central and adjoining east-central BoB by next Monday, October 24. Once it strengthens into a cyclone, the system will be named Sitrang.

Then it will gradually move north-northeastwards, skirting the Odisha coast and edging close to the West Bengal-Bangladesh coasts on October 25.

A​s for the landfall location, the predictions have remained different for different models. The ECMWF predicts Sitrang will make landfall over West Bengal-Bangladesh coasts by Wednesday afternoon as a Cyclonic Storm (63-88 kmph), whereas the GFS expects the system to cross the coast of eastern Bangladesh early Tuesday morning as a Severe Cyclonic Storm (89-117 kmph).

Sitrang’s expected impact on East and Northeast India

Even before Cyclone Sitrang makes landfall over India and/or Bangladesh, the wet onshore winds wrapping around the system will start impacting the weather in the region surrounding the Bay, according to The Weather Channel’s met team.

The IMD has already predicted widespread light to moderate rain with isolated heavy falls (64.5 mm-115.5 mm) over Andaman and Nicobar Islands from Friday to Sunday, October 21-23.

The eastern states of Odisha and Gangetic West Bengal look set for an explosive start to Diwali (albeit not in the manner they would have preferred), and the entire festive week may well remain damp.

They will be in for scattered to fairly widespread showers with isolated heavy to very heavy downpours (64.5 mm-204 mm), thunderstorms and lightning next Monday and Tuesday (October 24-25) and possibly beyond. Come Wednesday (October 26), the precipitation over Gangetic West Bengal may further intensify into extremely heavy rainfall (204 mm).

In the northeastern region, the likes of Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura will witness isolated heavy showers on Monday and Tuesday, and possibly isolated extremely heavy rains on Wednesday.

Early weather warnings in place

Considering these predictions, the IMD has issued an orange alert (‘be prepared’ for rough conditions) over Odisha and West Bengal for Monday and Tuesday. As next week approaches, these alerts may become more widespread and get upgraded as well.

Further, the wind speeds in the Bay of Bengal are expected to reach 40-50 kmph gusting to 60 kmph in south BoB on Friday, 45-50 kmph gusting to 60 kmph in north, east and central BoB on Saturday, 50-60 kmph gusting to 70 kmph on Sunday, 60-70 kmph gusting to 80 kmph on Monday and 65-75 kmph gusting to 85 kmph on Tuesday. Therefore, the fisherfolk have been advised against venturing into the sea while the cyclone persists.

As we edge closer to next week, the IMD will elaborate on the weekly forecasts for the region, and also provide specific updates on how Cyclone Sitrang will move within the Bay and precisely where it will make landfall.

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