File photo of rains in Kochi

(R K Sreejith / BCCL, Kochi)

Wednesday, October 19: Intense showers have been lashing Kerala’s southern parts and ghat areas for the past week. But on Monday and Tuesday, the rains upped their ante, and recent forecasts indicate that they may retain this intensity for the next 48 hours.

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), fairly widespread to widespread light to moderate rainfall with isolated heavy falls (64.5 mm-115.5 mm), thunderstorms and lightning are very likely over Kerala and Mahe from Wednesday to Sunday (October 19-23).

Further, isolated very heavy showers (115.5 mm-204 mm) are also expected over the regions on Wednesday and Thursday (October 19-20).

Given these predictions, a yellow watch has been issued across Kerala for the next five days, so as to urge locals to ‘be updated’ about the inclement weather. All districts of the state, including major ones like Alappuzha, Kottayam, Thiruvananthapuram and Palakkad, will remain on yellow watch for the entire forecast period.

Moreover, owing to the squally weather with wind speed reaching 40-50 kmph gusting to 60 kmph, fisherfolk have been advised against venturing into the sea for the next 3-4 days.

3-day rainfall accumulation from Wednesday to Saturday morning (TWC Met Team)

3-day rainfall accumulation from Wednesday to Saturday morning

(TWC Met Team)

This wet weather can be attributed to the following meteorological systems acting in tandem:

  • A trough running from the cyclonic circulation over north Andaman Sea and neighbourhood to the Tamil Nadu coast, across south Bay of Bengal, in lower tropospheric levels
  • A cyclonic circulation over east-central Arabian Sea off Maharashtra coast in lower tropospheric levels
  • A north-south trough running from southeast Arabian Sea off the Kerala coast to the aforementioned cyclonic circulation over east-central Arabian Sea off the Maharashtra coast in lower tropospheric levels

On Tuesday, the IMD had issued orange alerts in ten Kerala districts in view of the heavy overnight rain. The higher ranges witnessed especially intense downpours, while the heavy rainfall resulted in a landslide at the ninth bend along the Thamarassery Ghat on Tuesday evening. In the morning hours of Monday and Tuesday, the city limits and low-lying areas of the state experienced waterlogging due to the precipitation activity.

Meanwhile, the IMD has also announced the possible formation of the first post-monsoon cyclone of 2022 in the Bay of Bengal. If the system does intensify into a cyclone, it will be named Sitrang. And according to Rajeevan Erikkulam, a meteorologist with the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority, the southern side of Kerala may get more rain on October 23-24 as a result.

Despite all this wet weather, Kerala still seems to be lagging behind in terms of rainfall stats. After a slightly-drier-than-normal monsoon period, the state has recorded only 144 mm of precipitation in the first eighteen days of October, registering a ‘deficit’ of 22% compared to its average for the month.

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