Tropical Cyclone Yaas to slam into eastern India this week

Last week, Tropical Cyclone Tauktae hit northwestern India, bringing flooding rains and storm surge to the region, including in Mumbai. Tauktae was the strongest storm to ever make landfall on the western coast of India, ultimately killing over 100 people.

Tropical Cyclone Yaas is intensifying over the Bay of Bengal and is already producing waves of up to 25 feet.

The cyclone will likely “intensify further into a Severe Cyclonic Storm during next 6 hours and into a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm during subsequent 12 hours,” says the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

The very warm water temperatures will fuel rapid intensification over the next day. Sea surface temperatures are estimated to be as warm as 34 degrees Celsius (93 degrees Fahrenheit) in the northern Bay of Bengal.

It is expected to make landfall between Paradip and Sagar islands by midday Wednesday local time. Winds are currently forecast to peak at 150 kph (93 mph) near the time of landfall. This is equivalent to a Category 1 hurricane in the Atlantic and eastern and central Pacific Oceans.

Heavy rainfall could cause flash flooding in northeastern India, with a widespread 150 to 250 mm (6 to 10 inches) of rain and isolated totals over 250 mm likely. Some of the outer rain bands on the eastern side of the storm may lead to some flooding across portions of Bangladesh.

There will also be storm surge, with water inundations of 2 to 4 meters (6.5 to 13 feet) forecast along coastal sections of Odisha and Kolkata regions, according to the IMD.

Last year, Cyclone Amphan made landfall near Kolkata with winds at 165 kph (105 mph). Amphan was one of the most intense storms on record in the Indian Ocean. Although it weakened before making landfall, it still killed dozens across India and Bangladesh.

About 90 cyclones with winds of at least Category 1 hurricane strength (about 120 kph) have hit northeastern India or western Bangladesh.

Tropical cyclones can form year round in the North Indian Ocean, but are especially common in the spring ahead of monsoon season.

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