New Delhi: The year’s first cyclone Asani is brewing over southeast Bay of Bengal and is expected to bring heavy rains to Andaman and Nicobar Islands beginning Friday, but will spare the eastern coastline.
In its first Pre-genesis Track and Intensity Forecast, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the low pressure area, which was formed over southeast Bay of Bengal on Tuesday, will move east-northeastwards till March 19 morning and then move northwards along and off Andaman and Nicobar Islands till March 20.
The low pressure area is likely to intensify into a well-marked low by Saturday and further intensify into a depression by Sunday with squally winds — gusting 55-65 kmph to 75 kmph — over Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The weather system is expected to turn into a cyclonic storm on Monday, IMD Director General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said.
“Thereafter, it is likely to move nearly north-northeastwards and reach near Bangladesh-north Myanmar coasts around morning of March 22,” the meteorological department said.
Once the system intensifies into a cyclone, it will be named Asani, a name suggested by Sri Lanka, it said.
“If the forecast materialises, tropical cyclone Asani will become the first-ever tropical cyclone to hit Andaman and Nicobar Islands in March. Not a single tropical cyclone has hit the region in March in at least 132 years,” Akshay Deoras, a meteorologist at the University of Reading in England, said on Twitter.
Mohapatra said only eight cylcones — two in the Arabian Sea and six in the Bay of Bengal — have developed in the month of March between 1891 and 2022.
Of the eight weather systems, six dissipated over sea, one crossed the Tamil Nadu coast as a cyclonic storm in 1926 and another in Sri Lanka in 1907.
The department has advised fishermen not to venture into central parts of southeast Bay of Bengal from Thursday to Monday, the Andaman Sea and along and off Andaman and Nicobar Islands between Friday and Wednesday.
The IMD has issued an advisory for regulation of off-shore activities from Saturday and suspension of off-shore activities from Sunday to Tuesday.
The cyclone is expected to cause localised flooding of roads, inundation and water logging in low lying areas in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The weather office has recommended total suspension of fishing and tourism activities from Saturday to Friday in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.