Puducherry or Mamallapuram? Confusion over where Cyclone Nivar will make landfall

It is very likely to intensify further into a very severe cyclonic storm during the next 12 hours
Last Updated 25 November 2020, 05:22 IST

Very severe cyclonic storm Nivar is expected to make its landfall between Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts on Wednesday night or in the wee hours of Thursday.

However, there was confusion over the cyclone's landfall area with the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) projecting it to be around Puducherry and independent weather bloggers suggesting that the very severe cyclonic storm will cross between Mamallapuram and Kalpakkam, 70 km from Chennai.

Track latest updates on Cyclone Nivar here

While the Model for Prediction Across Scales (MPAS) predicted that Cyclone Nivar packing winds to the speed of 120 to 130 km per hour gusting to 145 km per hour will make its landfall near Puducherry on Wednesday night, the European model says the Cyclone will cross between Mamallapuram and Kalpakkam, which houses a nuclear power station.

The Madras Atomic Power Station in Kalpakkam had on Tuesday said it has activated the cyclone protection machinery and that all preparedness measures including placing sandbags on the coastal side, clearing of storm drains, and inspection of plant buildings and structures have been done.

In its latest bulletin issued at 8.30 am, the IMD said Cyclone Nivar lay 290 km east-south-east of Cuddalore, and 350 km south-south-east of Chennai at 5.30 am on Wednesday.

“It is very likely to intensify further into a very severe cyclonic storm during the next 12 hours. It is very likely to move north-westwards and cross Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts between Karaikal and Mamallapuram around Puducherry during mid-night of November 25 and early hours of November 26 as a very severe cyclonic storm,” the IMD said.

It said squally wind will gradually increase to 120-130 km per hour gusting to 145 km per hour along and off coastal districts of north Tamil Nadu and Puducherry (Nagapattinam, Karaikal, Mayiladuthurai, Cuddalore, Puducherry, Villupuram and Chengalpattu), while the wind speed in Tiruvarur, Kanchipuram, Chennai, Tiruvallur districts will be 80-90 km per hour gusting to 100 km per hour.

Independent weather blogger Pradeep John, who is credited with rightly predicting landfall of cyclones, said Cyclone Nivar will cross between Pondicherry and Chennai near Mamallapuram and Kalpakkam.

“So the conclusion is that Cyclone Nivar is expected to cross between Pondy and Chennai near Mamallapuram-Kalpakkam areas with some + or – some km on the night of November 25 to November 26 morning. The difference is not much between Mamallapuram and Chennai. If some little deviations occur, there are slight chances that a cyclone might even land over Chennai,” he wrote.

The Weather Channel reported that different model projections still show a significant deviation in the trajectory of the storm.

“According to the US Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC), Cyclone Nivar will travel north-west while developing to the strength of Very Severe Cyclonic Storm (VSCS) on Thursday dawn. Other Numerical Weather Prediction models forecast landing times much earlier, similar to that of IMD GFS,” The Weather Channel reported.

(Published 25 November 2020, 05:20 IST)

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