India is bracing for a tropical cyclone brewing 400 km off Chennai over the Bay of Bengal and expected to strike its east coast on Tuesday night, risking lives and homes in three states and two commercial ports.
Did you know?
Traditionally, Met gives cyclones feminine names, like Aila and Laila, to attract media interest, so that they spread the warning.
The Met department has issued a “severe weather warning”, along with a cyclone alert for Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and, possibly, Orissa.
Named Laila, the tempest is coasting towards the mainland, speeding between 95 and 100 kmph, but is unlikely to hold up the monsoon, a weather bureau official said.
The June-September monsoon, whose onset was declared on Monday, is critical for India, as two-thirds of Indians depend on farm income.
The “agromet” wing, which monitors farm weather, said deepening westerly winds were in fact aiding the monsoon.
“Sea conditions will be very rough off Andhra Pradesh coast and north Tamil Nadu coast. Fishermen are advised not to venture into the sea off these coasts,” the weather alert stated.
Deadly tropical storms frequently take off from the Bay of Bengal during India’s summer months.
In April, a Nor'wester -- another Bay of Bengal storm system -- tore through Bihar and Bengal, killing over 100. Last year’s cyclone Aila was West Bengal’s worst disaster in decades, killing 128 and leaving thousands of survivors with nothing.
State governments are being constantly updated, a weather bulletin said.