Cyclone, rains may spoil Diwali in Odisha, West Bengal

With Cyclone Sitrang’s formation process in the Bay of Bengal already underway, its impact on the Indian mainland — particularly the eastern, northeastern and southern parts of the country — is now imminent.

However, some states will have to bear the brunt more than others, as they face the prospect of a dampened Diwali celebration due to the extreme weather.

As per the India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) latest update, the system currently exists as a low-pressure area over north Andaman Sea and the adjoining areas of south Andaman Sea and southeast Bay of Bengal.

It is likely to move west-northwestwards and concentrate into a depression over east-central and adjoining southeast Bay of Bengal around October 22, and then into a deep depression on October 23.

Thereafter, it is expected to recurve northwards and intensify into a Cyclonic Storm over west-central and adjoining east-central Bay of Bengal by Monday. Once it strengthens into a cyclone, the system will be named Sitrang.

Then it will gradually move towards the north-northeast direction, skirting the Odisha coast and edging close to the West Bengal-Bangladesh coasts on October 25.

As for the landfall location, the predictions have remained different for different models. The ECMWF predicts Sitrang will make landfall over West Bengal-Bangladesh coasts by Wednesday afternoon as a Cyclonic Storm (63-88 kmph), whereas the GFS expects the system to cross the coast of eastern Bangladesh early Tuesday morning as a Severe Cyclonic Storm (89-117 kmph).

The IMD has already predicted widespread light to moderate rain with isolated heavy falls (64.5 mm-115.5 mm) over Andaman and Nicobar Islands from Friday to Sunday (October 21-23).

The eastern states of Odisha and Gangetic West Bengal look set for an explosive start to Diwali and the entire festive week may well remain damp.

In the northeastern region, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura will witness isolated heavy showers on Monday and Tuesday, and possibly isolated extremely heavy rains on Wednesday.

Considering these predictions, the IMD has issued an orange alert (‘be prepared’ for rough conditions) over Odisha and West Bengal for Monday and Tuesday. As next week approaches, these alerts may become more widespread and get upgraded as well.

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