Cyclone Asani over Bay of Bengal puts Odisha on alert
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said a low-pressure region over the South Andaman Sea is expected to develop into a cyclone—to be called Asani—by Sunday and travel north toward India's eastern coast. Officials with the IMD predicted that the low-pressure area would become a depression by Saturday evening and then, 24 hours later, develop into a cyclonic storm over the Bay of Bengal.
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If the low-pressure area becomes a cyclone, it will be known as Asani, a name coined by Sri Lankan authorities. Asani literally means wrath or anger in Sinhalese. The Naveen Patnaik-led government has issued a high alert as Odisha braces for a possible cyclonic storm in the coming days. Odisha had also witnessed cyclones Yaas in 2021, Amphan in 2020, and Fani in 2019.
Asani expected to make landfall between May 10-11
The low-pressure region was over 1,000km from the Indian coast as of Friday. The IMD will provide more precise information regarding its current position later on Saturday. By Tuesday (May 10), the weather system is anticipated to continue in the north-northwest direction, reaching coastal Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. Between Tuesday and Wednesday (May 10-11), Asani is expected to make landfall between Visakhapatnam and Bhubaneshwar.
Wind speed to go up to 75km/h, IMD predicts
The wind speed will likely hover between 40-50km/h but may intensify from Sunday onward, going up to 75km/h, Umashankar Das, a senior scientist at IMD Bhubaneswar, said. Fishermen have also been warned against venturing out into the Andaman Sea and the east-central and southeast regions of the Bay of Bengal. District Collectors of all 18 districts in Odisha are keeping a close vigil.
Cyclone may take a U-turn or head towards Bangladesh
According to the weather officials, the storm may also make a U-turn and return to the sea or take a hard turn and head toward Bangladesh, making precise projection difficult. "There is a lot of divergence between what different models are showing... So we can't say immediately if this cyclone will make landfall," Ananda Kumar Das, head of the IMD's cyclone monitoring department, said.
Response teams to be deployed after confirmation of Asani's path
Reportedly, 17 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams, 20 state disaster authorities, and approximately 200 fire service teams will be positioned in Odisha once the cyclone and landfall have been confirmed. Though the storm may not extend quite that far, between Tuesday and Thursday, some rainfall is also forecast in West Bengal's Gangetic region, including Kolkata. However, this depends on the storm's path.