Cyclone Asani: Rains hit Andaman and Nicobar, IMD issues helpline
A low-pressure system developing in the southeast Bay of Bengal and the adjoining Andaman Sea intensified into a depression on Sunday. It is expected to further intensify into a cyclone on Monday, which will be the first in the North Indian Ocean region since 2000. If this happens, the cyclonic storm will be known as Asani, a name coined by Sri Lanka.
As per the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the system is expected to move north-eastwards and make landfall near the coasts of north Myanmar and southeast Bangladesh on March 22. At 5:30 am IST, the depression laid centered about 80 km north-northwest of Car Nicobar (Nicobar Islands), 210 km south-southwest of Port Blair (Andaman Islands) and 870 km south-southwest of Yangon (Myanmar).
The IMD has also forecasted heavy to very heavy rainfall in a few locations across the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, with isolated extremely heavy rainfall possible over the Nicobar Islands. Heavy rainfall ranging from 64.5 mm to 204.4 mm is predicted in 24 hours for the Andaman and Nicobar Islands until Tuesday, the weather agency said.
Rough sea conditions are likely to be observed near the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, southeast Bay of Bengal, and the Andaman Sea due to stormy winds with speeds ranging from 55 to 65 km/hr reaching 75 km/hr. IMD has also advised fishermen to stay off the East Central Bay of Bengal between March 21-22 and North East Bay of Bengal on March 22.
In light of Cyclone Asani, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands administration has canceled scheduled sailings of vessels in the Foreshore Sector (services between Port Blair and nearby Islands) and issued a helpline number 03192-245555/232714 and a toll-free number - 1-800-345-2714 for passengers.
The administration has made necessary arrangements to deal with the situation in the Andaman and Nicobar islands, including the evacuation of people from low-lying areas. All stakeholders have been asked to ensure that there is an adequate arrangement of food, water, and other basic facilities in the temporary camps set up to give shelter to the evacuated people.
Between 1891 and 2021, the North Indian Ocean region experienced only eight cyclonic disturbances in March. According to the IMD's cyclone atlas, the majority were cyclonic disturbances that occurred in the years- 1907, 1924, 1925, 1928, 1938, 1994, 2000, and 2018 respectively, and remained only as depressions in the Bay of Bengal or the Arabian Sea.