THE tropical depression in the Bay of Bengal turned into tropical cyclone Asani at 4 p.m. today (May 8) and while Thailand is not being directly hit winds will strengthen nationwide and the South will face continuous rainfall that could trigger flash floods, Thansettakij newspaper quoted the Thai Meteorological Department as saying.
Mr. Somwan Tonchan, director of the Central Weather Forecasting Division, said the cyclone is centred at latitude 11.8 degrees north, longitude 88.4 degrees east with the maximum sustained winds about 65 km/hr. It is moving northwest at a speed of about 15 km/hr and will likely reach upper Bay of Bengal during May 9-10.
Although this cyclone is not moving directly into Thailand it does strengthen winds across the country, the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea.
The South will face continuous rainfall with isolated heavy to very showers and people in this region should beware of severe conditions that may trigger flash floods and overflows.
The strong winds will raise waves to two metres high in the Andaman Sea and one to two metres in the Gulf of Thailand that could rise to two metres in thunderstorms. All ships should proceed with caution and avoid thunderstorms.
Somwan added that while the Thai Meteorological Department has not officially announced the rainy season, expecting to do so during May 11-13, people are advised to follow the weather report during the current transitional pre-southwest monsoon period,
The wind direction is variable with the provinces affected being Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chumphon, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Songkhla and Phatthalung.
“The deep depression has intensified into a cyclonic storm named ‘Asani’. It’s moving at 16 kmph in a northwest direction. It is 970 km in the southeast direction from Visakhapatnam and 1,020 km in the southeast direction from Puri,” said Umashankar Das, a senior IMD scientist.
“We are expecting it’ll move in the northwest direction till May 10 evening. Possibly, it’ll further intensify into a severe cyclonic storm in the next 24 hours,” he added.
However, the scientist denied the possibility of landfall and said that it will recurve and move parallel to the Odisha coast.
The Indian weathermen advised fishermen not to venture into East-central and Southeast Bay of Bengal and adjoining Andaman Sea today. They were also advised not to venture into central parts of the Bay of Bengal on May 9 -10 and Northwest Bay of Bengal on May 10-12.
The Kolkata Municipal Corporation has put its employees and disaster management teams on alert to cope with this cyclone with the leaves of all employees concerned having been cancelled,
Odisha special relief commissioner Pradeep Jena has said that arrangements have been made to evacuate 750,000 people in 18 districts if any emergency arises from this cyclone.
Graphic image on tropical storm Asani and maps. Credit: Thansettakij newspaper