Cyclonic Storm Phethai, that lies 490 km east-southeast of Chennai, is likely to move north-northwestwards and cross the Andhra Pradesh coast between Machilipatnam and Kakinada on 17 December afternoon, according to the latest weather bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
In a press conference at the Regional Meteorological Centre in Chennai on Sunday, S Balachandran, Director, Area Cyclone Warning Centre, clarified that while the name of the cyclone, given by Thailand, is spelled Phethai, it is pronounced pay-ti.
A Sunday morning bulletin from the IMD said that the cyclone storm over southwest Bay of Bengal moved further northwestwards with a speed of 7 kmph over the past six hours and lay centred about 460 km east-northeast of Trincomalee (Sri Lanka), 490 km east-southeast of Chennai, 640 km south-southeast of Machilipatnam and 670 km south-southeast of Kakinada. In the next 24 hours, Phethai is likely to intensify further into a Severe Cyclonic Storm, according to IMD.
B18:#CyclonePhethai over SW #BoB moved NW with a speed of 7 kmph is about 460 km NE of #Trincomalee, 490 km SE of #Chennai, 670 km SE of #Kakinada and 640 km SE of #Machilipatnam. It is likely to weaken slightly before landfall due to unfavourable environmental conditions. pic.twitter.com/Fnda8h4TkSâ€” TN SDMA (@tnsdma) December 16, 2018
Chennai is expected to receive light to moderate showers during the next two days. The sky is likely to be generally cloudy over the city while maximum and minimum temperatures are likely to be around 31 and 24 degree Celsius respectively in the city. Dry weather continues for the rest of the state.
Tamil Nadu Weatherman Pradeep John analyses two outcomes for Chennai in his recent Facebook post. â€śTwo possibilities for KTC rains â€“ Windy day tomorrow: If the Cyclone Phethai comes more west and closer to Chennai the dense westerly clouds will fall over us and we might get moderate to heavy rains today. If the Cyclone Phethai moves more east away from Chennai then we might miss the westerly clouds and we might get only light to moderate rains. And its going to be windy day for Chennai irrespective of the two outcomes (sic),â€ť he writes.
Fishermen in coastal Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have been warned not to venture out into the sea on December 16 and 17.
The bulletin reads, â€śSqually wind speed reaching 55-65 kmph gusting to 75 kmph is very likely to prevail along and off Coastal Andhra Pradesh. Sea conditions are very likely to become very rough to high along and off south Andhra Pradesh and north Tamil Nadu coast. Fishermen are advised not to venture into these areas. Those who are out in deep sea areas are advised to return to coast (sic).â€ť
The forecast for December 16 and 17, according to IMD reads, â€śHeavy to very heavy rain at a few places with isolated extremely heavy fall at isolated places over Coastal Andhra Pradesh, isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall over Odisha and isolated heavy rainfall over Chhattisgarh, Gangetic West Bengal and Jharkhand.â€ť
Phethai would be the third cyclone to hit south India in less than 2 months after Titli and Gaja.