In a dramatic week-long build-up, the weather system originating in the Bay of Bengal has transformed into a fully developed cyclone, maintaining formidable strength as it barrels towards an imminent landfall in the next 24 hours.
As per the latest briefing from the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the Deep Depression over the northwest Bay of Bengal has tracked north-northeastward at a brisk pace of 20 kmph, evolving into the Cyclonic Storm ‘Midhili’ during the early hours of today.
As of 5:30 am, the system is positioned approximately 190 km east of Paradip (Odisha), 200 km south-southeast of Digha (West Bengal), and 220 km southwest of Khepupara (Bangladesh).
The forecast indicates a continued north-northeastward trajectory, reaching its peak intensity of 70-80 kmph, with gusts up to 90 kmph, between 11:30 am and 5:30 pm today.
Subsequently, Cyclone Midhili is projected to make landfall along the Bangladesh coast, near Khepupara, between late Friday night and the early hours of Saturday. It is expected to maintain its Cyclonic Storm status during landfall, packing winds of 60-70 kmph, gusting up to 80 kmph.
Anticipated Impact on India Cyclone Midhili is poised to trigger widespread light to moderate rains, coupled with isolated heavy showers (64.5 mm-115.5 mm), across coastal West Bengal, south Assam, east Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, and Tripura (NMMT) in the next 24-48 hours. Mizoram and Tripura may experience isolated extremely heavy downpours (exceeding 204.5 mm) over the next 24 hours.
Given these forecasts, an orange alert, signaling ‘be prepared’ for adverse conditions, has been issued for Mizoram and Tripura today. The rest of the affected areas are under a yellow watch, urging residents to ‘be aware’ of the weather situation.
Furthermore, a moderate flash flood risk is declared for selected watersheds and neighborhoods in NMMT and Gangetic West Bengal within the next 24 hours.
The IMD has outlined expected damages and recommended actions for coastal residents of West Bengal and the northeastern states, including damage to structures, power and communication lines, roads, and crops. Sea water inundation in low-lying areas and partial damage to standing crops are also anticipated.
Cyclone Midhili marks the second consecutive cyclonic storm in the Bay of Bengal within two months, following Cyclone Hamoon in mid-October. With a history of generating tropical cyclones from October to December, the North Indian Ocean is in the midst of the post-monsoon cyclone season, characterized by distinct wind patterns and sea surface temperatures. As India braces for the impact, coastal regions are gearing up to face the challenges posed by this intense weather phenomenon.