A tropical disturbance, labeled Invest 93A by the United States Navy, which is located off the southwest coast of India, is being monitored for potential tropical cyclone formation over the next few days. The disturbance currently poses a threat to India and Pakistan as it moves slowly northward parallel to the Indian coast. The system could eventually threaten the Arabian Peninsula, although the future track of the system remains somewhat uncertain.
Areas at Risk
Most available model guidance shows Invest 93A moving parallel to the west coast of India, moving onshore or very close to Gujarat in western India. Tropical cyclones affecting the state of Gujarat are infrequent events; the last named cyclone to directly affect the state was Cyclone Onil in September of 2004. However, cyclones affecting this region have the potential to bring very heavy rainfall. In June of 2015, a depression produced as much as 25 in (63.5 cm) of rainfall in Gujarat. In June of 1998, Gujarat was severely impacted by a cyclone of Category 3 equivalent (on the Saffir-Simpson scale) intensity which resulted in thousands of deaths. However, since then, cyclone awareness and warning time has increased in the region.
While most models are in good agreement of the disturbance moving northward parallel to the Indian coast, there is less agreement as to the system’s future track afterward. Some move the system further inland, which would bring further impacts to India, as well as Pakistan. However, others show the system taking a sharp turn to the west, which would increase the threat to the Arabian Peninsula, Oman in particular. Last year, in May, the Arabian Peninsula was significantly affected by Cyclone Mekunu, which struck Oman as a Category 3 equivalent storm. Other cyclones which have affected the region include Cyclone Phet in June of 2010, as well as Cyclone Gonu in June of 2007. Although the future path of this system is uncertain, all interests in India, Pakistan, and the Arabian Peninsula should closely monitor its progress, and have a tropical cyclone plan in preparation in the event of a tropical cyclone impact. This system has the potential to produce heavy rainfall, enhanced tides, and strong winds across much of the east coast of India over the next few days as it moves slowly northward towards northwest India and Pakistan.