The first tropical storm of the 2021 North Indian Ocean cyclone season forms today in the form of tropical storm 01A, it currently has 1-minute sustained winds of 50 mph (80 kph) and a central pressure of 993 Mb based on Force Thirteen’s analysis. While The India Meteorological Departement currently has the storm as a Deep Depression with 3-minute sustained winds of 35 mph (55 kph). the storm is currently forecasted to strengthen into a powerful cyclone as it tracks Northwestwards over the next few days with a 1-minute winds peak of 145 mph (230 kph) being forecasted by Force Thirteen and a 3-minute winds peak of 90 mph (145 kph) being forecasted by the IMD.
The IMD has issued warnings to prepare the districts across India’s western coast for the storm’s passage. Notably a yellow alert for Mumbai and Thane, an orange alert for Ernakulam, Kottayam, Alappuzha, and Idukki, and a red alert for Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Pathanamthitta districts, and Lakshadweep. These alerts signify varying levels of rainfall and strong winds over the designated areas. The country’s National Disaster Response Force has said that 53 teams have been marked to tackle the effects of the storm across the 5 states that will be impacted by the storm with 24 of them having been pre-deployed and the other 29 being put on standby.
If current forecasts for the storm verifies it would make the storm an unprecedented event for the region as usually, a strong cyclone tends to track away from the western coast of India as can be seen in Cyclone Gonu of 2007 and Cyclone Kyarr of 2019 with only storms of lower intensities staying so close to the coast before making landfall as can be seen in Tropical storm Phyan of 2009 and Cyclone Nisarga of 2020.
As the storm intensifies and moves northward the biggest threat will be from extremely high rainfall totals being dropped on the low lying coastal districts which could cause major flooding and landslides across the whole region, as the storm approaches its possible landfall spot somewhere between Gujarat and Southern Sind in Pakistan additional threats from strong winds and storm surge will become more apparent and thus needs to be accounted for to ease preparations efforts in that area.
Featured Image by Isaac G