Chennai braces itself as Cyclone ‘Michaung’ intensifies in the Bay of Bengal, upgrading to a Deep Depression (DD) on Saturday. The impending cyclonic disturbance is expected to unleash heavy rainfall and formidable winds across northern Tamil Nadu districts, including Chennai, starting from December 3. Forecasters anticipate the cyclonic storm to make landfall between Nellore and Machilipatnam along the north Tamil Nadu coast, with wind speeds potentially reaching up to 100 kmph on Monday, December 4.
Located approximately 500 kilometers southeast off the coast of Chennai, the Cyclonic storm has seen an escalation in strength. According to the latest bulletin from the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), the depression over the Southwest Bay of Bengal moved in a west-northwest direction over the last 06 hours, intensifying into a Deep Depression. As of 0530 hrs IST on December 2, it was centered about 500 km E-SE of Puducherry, 510 km E-SE of Chennai, and 630 km SE of Nellore. The system is anticipated to continue its movement in the W-NW direction and further intensify into a Cyclonic Storm within the next 24 hours.
With the projected landfall of Cyclone Michaung between Chennai and North Andhra Pradesh on December 4, the IMD has issued a ‘Red Alert’ for Thiruvallur district and an ‘Orange Alert’ for Chennai, Kancheepuram, Chengalpattu, Ranipet, Vellore, Tirupattur, and Tiruvannamalai districts. The weather agency predicts heavy to very heavy rainfall for Chennai during the landfall period.
Anticipating the cyclone's impact, K Srikanth, a weather expert based in Chennai, foresees sporadic rainfall today, escalating in intensity tonight. According to Srikanth, the present 'well-marked low' in the Bay of Bengal will elevate into a depression, prompting rainfall activity in the delta districts before progressing towards the north coastal areas, including Chennai.
“Located 594 KM Southeast of Chennai & 492KM Southeast of Karaikal, the depression is expected to intensify into a Deep Depression and move in a NW trajectory towards the North TN Coast. There’s an expectation for it to intensify into Cyclone Michaung within the next 24 hours near Chennai Latitude. However, the precise landfall location remains uncertain due to complex coastal conditions. Chennai is already experiencing rainfall. Expect alternating moderate to heavy rainfall with strong surface winds,” Srikanth explained.
While suggesting the likelihood of Cyclone Michaung possibly bypassing Chennai during its landfall, Srikanth cautioned that its effects would be felt in the city and its environs.
"The initial rainfall triggered by the Depression might occur soon as thunderstorms develop off the coast. As the system gains momentum, rainfall occurrences are expected to become more frequent and potentially heavier," Srikanth added.
Meanwhile, in anticipation of heavy downpours, the Puducherry government has declared a holiday for schools in Puducherry, Karaikal, and Yanam on Monday, December 4.