The low-pressure area over the Andaman Sea underwent controlled intensification by yesterday and became tropical cyclone ‘Gaja’ this morning over the open waters of the Bay of Bengal. India Met Department (IMD) has situated the cyclone to over East-Central and adjoining West-Central and South-East Bay, 400 km west-northwest of Port Blair (Andaman Islands), 990 km north-east of Chennai (Tamil Nadu) and 1,050 km east-south-east of Nellore (Andhra Pradesh).
Meanwhile, the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts has pointed to the possibility of another storm developing over the Gulf of Thailand (just across the Andaman Sea) by November 20.
Cyclone Gaja is expected to intensify further into a severe cyclonic storm by tomorrow and move west-northwestwards in the subsequent day and a half. Later, it would change direction to west-south-westwards towards the North Tamil Nadu-South Andhra Pradesh coasts by Wednesday. However, while moving west-southwestwards, it is also likely to weaken slowly and cross the North Tamil Nadu-South Andhra Pradesh coasts as a cyclone during by Thursday forenoon.
Squally wind speed reaching 45-55 km/hr gusting to 65 km/hr would start along and off North Tamil Nadu-South Andhra Pradesh coasts from Wednesday morning. The IMD has forecast rainfall at many places over North Coastal Tamil Nadu and adjoining South Coastal Andhra Pradesh from Wednesday evening with heavy falls at lonely places. Ahead of this, the cyclone would bring rainfall at most places over Andaman & Nicobar Islands with heavy rainfall at lonely places today, before losing intensity thereafter.
Squally winds reaching 55 km/hr gusting to 65 km/hr have been forecast over and around the Andaman Islands and the North Andaman Sea into tonight. Gale winds with speeds reaching 70 km/hr and gusting to 80 km/hr prevail over East-Central and adjoining West-Central and South-East Bay, half-way into the Tamil Nadu and Andhra coasts. These would scale up to 100 km/hr gusting to 110 km/hr over West-Central and adjoining South-West Bay (closer to the above costs) from tomorrow morning. Cyclone Gaja is anticipated to bring rainbands into North Tamil Nadu as per the IMD outlook, though, of an array of global models surveyed, only a couple tended to agree more or less with this prognosis.
Among these are the US Joint Typhoon Warning Centre, which seeks the severe cyclone weakening around before barrelling over Chennai and neighborhood on Thursday afternoon. The US Navy Global Environmental Model too seemed to concur, taking the storm towards Chennai as per the 180-hour forecast based on starting conditions as available yesterday.
But a group of other models, covering the Canadian Meteorological Centre, the Global Forecasts System of the US National Centres for Environmental Prediction, the Japanese Meteorological Agency, and the UK Met Centre sees the cyclone heading either just South of Chennai or deeper South.
Lately, the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts to seems to have agreed with a landfall over a South Tamil Nadu regions.