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Lehar swell waves to hit coast much before landfall

Y. Mallikarjun
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Swell waves reaching a height of 2-3 metres generated by the Lehar cyclone will start hitting the coast near Kakinada from the early hours of Wednesday, much before the landfall time on November 28, according to ocean scientists.

Based on modelling studies and data collected in real time from wave rider buoys located at Visakhapatnam, Gopalpur and elsewhere in the open ocean, scientists from the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) have predicted that the maximum wave height could be between 2.5-3.5 metres, off the Andhra Pradesh coast from Nellore to Srikakulam from 11.30 hrs of Wednesday to 23.30 hrs of November 28.

With the waves approaching from the eastern direction, they could reach a maximum height of 3.5 metres on November 28 at 0530 hrs along the coast off East Godavari district. An isolated wave could also reach twice the height of the maximum predicted wave.

Ominous portents

According to Dr. T.M. Balakrishnan Nair, Scientist & Head, Ocean Science and Information Services, INCOIS, cyclone Lehar appears to be as severe as Phailin in the open ocean.

While many factors play a role in cyclone’s behaviour, the sea surface temperature could also significantly influence it.

The cyclone could pick up intensity if it passes through an area of high sea surface temperature as some energy would be taken.

Conversely, if it passes through a cold water eddy, the cyclone’s intensity could get reduced although there was no certainty about it. For instance, Phailin during its course traversed through a cold water eddy but its intensity did not wane. Besides the ocean, lot of atmospheric factors influence the intensity of the cyclone, Dr. Nair added.

The sea surface currents would flow along the coastline in the southeast direction and the speed could increase up to 180-200 cm/ sec along the coast off East Godavari district in the early hours of November 28, while the speed of the currents in normal times would be 60-70 cm/sec.


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