Cyclone Vardah heading for Chennai Coast, likely to landfall as a cyclone

As expected by our yesterday’s post in our blog Cyclone Vardah is now heading for the coast of Chennai.  Very Severe Cyclone Vardah currently lying around 500 kms to the East of Chennai is making slow progress towards the coast of Chennai.  After climbing up to a latitude of about 13.3 N the system has been pretty much maintaining a Westward track since yesterday morning.

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Cyclone Vardah is now at its peak intensity of about 125 – 135 kmph per hour according to IMD.  It is expected to retain its peak intensity till today afternoon post which thanks to unfavorable conditions developing in the form of high vertical wind shear will gradually reduce the intensity of the system making it a cyclonic storm at the time of landfall.

Till Yesterday most weather agencies including IMD & JTWC were expecting Cyclone Vardah to possibly make landfall in South Andhra Coast around Nellore latitude.  Thanks to the near West track which Cyclone Vardah has been taking since yesterday both JTWC and IMD have now brought the landfall close to Chennai.  Roughly 75 kms separate the two landfall points with JTWC opting for South of Chennai landfall while IMD opting for landfall near Sriharikota about 50 kms north of Chennai.

Most models are in sync about Cyclone Vardah making landfall as a tropical cyclone. Wind speeds are likely to be about 100 kms at the time of landfall between Mahabalipuram and Nellore with some models indicating wind gusts exceeding 125 kmph during landfall.  Some models indicate upto 20 cms of rains in isolated places along the North Coastal Tamil Nadu & South Coastal Andhra Pradesh.  While Flooding risk does not exist there is a very high chance of heavy to very heavy rains in one or two places during the time of landfall tomorrow.

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When Cyclone Vardah makes landfall near Chennai it will become only the 5th Cyclone to make landfall within a degree of Chennai’s latitude in the last 50 years.  Cyclone Nilam in the year 2012 was the last to come close to Chennai.  Interestingly the year 1966 saw Chennai hit by two back to back cyclones both pretty much taking genesis at the same location.

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