IMD issues fresh alert for Gujarat coast

With the cyclonic storm over the Arabian Sea becoming increasingly strong, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Wednesday issued a fresh alert for the coastal areas of Gujarat.

In a bulletin on Wednesday evening, the department warned that from Friday onwards, sea conditions over north Arabian Sea and along and off the coast of Gujarat would be extremely rough, from “very high” to “phenomenal.”

Simultaneously, from Friday, gale force winds would sweep along and off the Gujarat coast and there would be fairly widespread rainfall, with isolated heavy to very heavy rain in the coastal areas of Kutch and Saurashtra.

The cyclonic storm, named Phet, has already become very severe, with a sustained maximum surface wind speed ranging from 140 kmph to 150 kmph near the system.

On Wednesday afternoon, it lay centered near latitude 16 degrees north and longitude 60.5 degrees east, about 1,050 km south-west of Naliya in the Kutch district.

Weather prediction models at the IMD indicate that it would become stronger and move slowly in a northerly/ north-westerly direction for the next 24 hours towards Oman, but just before reaching the Oman coast, it would change course, re-curving north-eastwards towards Pakistan and the adjoining Gujarat coast.

As per the models, the system is expected to continue to move around over the Arabian Sea at least till Saturday morning and becoming stronger by the hour.

The wind speed near the system are expected to reach a peak of 220 kmph by Thursday evening and remain at that level for Friday, before coming down to 210 kmph by Saturday morning off the coast of Karachi.

Noting that it is not yet clear as to when and where it would cross the coast, meteorologists said there was, however, a good possibility for the system to weaken before the landfall because of interaction with the fresh western disturbance, which is on its way.

Experts also expected that after the landfall, the system could continue to move north-eastwards and bring widespread rains to western and north-western parts of the country, which include Delhi, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, West Uttar Pradesh, west Madhya Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. The rain spell could last for about 24-36 hours.

Meanwhile, the system continued to severely affect monsoon activity in the western part of the country. While the northern limit of the monsoon remains where it was, running from Kannur in Kerala to Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu, the rainfall over even the area which have so far been covered remained subdued.

However, there was some activity on the monsoon front in the north-eastern region of the country. The system has advanced further into most parts of the north-eastern States and some parts of the sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim.

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