Kalamassery south in Kochi

(Jipson Sikhera)

Monday, May 16: Last week, Cyclone Asani’s presence in the Bay of Bengal brought bountiful rains across South Peninsular India, with almost the entire region experiencing heavy showers and gusty winds in several locations. For Kerala, however, the intensity as well as the distribution of the precipitation has seen a dramatic spike this week, due to which a red alert has been issued across the state for the next 24 hours.

As per the India Meteorological Department (IMD), a cyclonic circulation over South Interior Karnataka coupled with moisture-laden westerly winds from the Arabian Sea will continue to dump pre-monsoon showers over the southern region this week.

Under their influence, Kerala is likely to experience isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places and extremely heavy falls at isolated locations on Monday, May 16. Some parts of the state may record precipitation in excess of 100 mm/day on Monday, weather.com meteorologists have indicated.

Accordingly, the districts of Kozhikode, Malappuram, Thrissur, Ernakulam and Idukki in Kerala have been placed under a red warning by the IMD on Monday, while most other districts remain under orange alerts.

A red warning over a region advises its residents to ‘take appropriate action’ to remain safe against hazardous weather conditions. Similarly, an orange warning tells us to ‘be prepared’, while a yellow watch recommends being updated on the situation.

Thereafter, from Tuesday to Friday (May 17-20), isolated heavy to very heavy showers will prevail across Kerala. The rainfall will also be accompanied by thunderstorms, lightning and gusty winds.

Meanwhile, the heavy rains that lashed central Kerala entirely destroyed almost half a dozen homes, according to an IANS report on Sunday. Ernakulam and its environs remain severely inundated.

In wake of the extremely precarious predictions for Kerala, National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) teams containing 100 members each have been dispatched to many of the afflicted areas. While the rivers of the state have not overflowed, hazard analysts have been asked to monitor the situation closely, officials added.

As for the rest of South Peninsular India, isolated heavy falls are expected to drench parts of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka this week. And while earlier reports showed a deficiency in cumulative rainfall over South India, it has quickly been remedied by the bountiful rains the region has experienced over the past few days.

These intense rain spells may well get followed by the monsoon showers, especially with reports indicating that the southwest monsoon may arrive over Kerala five days earlier than normal this year — the onset occurring on May 27 rather than the usual date of June 1.

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