Rain-bearing strong winds to close in on Kerala from two sides

Pathanamthitta: Kerala is passing through an unprecedented October as far as rainfall is concerned. Intense rain has been lashing across the state over the last several days, leading to a near flood-like situation in many parts of the central Kerala until a few days ago.

As if the rainfall was not enough, a low-pressure area, which is set to bring rains to Kerala, has already formed in the Arabian sea adjacent to Lakshadweep. It will enter the Indian mainland through the coast within 24 hours and directly affect Kerala.

Another low-pressure area is set to form in Bay of Bengal on October 17. This will trigger the beginning of north-east monsoon rains in Kerala.

(In meteorology, a low-pressure area, low area or low is a region where the atmospheric pressure is lower than that of surrounding locations. Wind blows from areas of high pressure toward areas of low pressure.)

By October 16 the two low-pressure areas are even expected to come together like twins, possibly changing the course of rains in central India. It is most likely to adopt the path above central Kerala.

While one will move towards the east, the other will progress on the western side. The kinetic energy developed from both would bring dense clouds over Kerala. (The collection of similar low-pressure areas was responsible for the devastating floods in 2018.)

The low-pressure areas forming in the seas to the east and west of the Indian landmass are working like a double-engine machine bringing heavy rains. Central Kerala, in particular, is likely to witness heavy rains as a result and people here needs to maintain extreme vigil during Saturday and Sunday.

According to the current analysis, the low-pressure area is likely to pave the way for heavy rains in Malappuram and Palakkad districts too.

October might also turn into a month which receives rain every day as a result of the two phenomena.

As reported earlier Kerala is likely to witness heavy rain in the coming days too due to the low-pressure areas caused by the formation of the whirlwind raging in the Arabian Sea and cyclones in the sea in East Asia.

However, this is not the first time that Kerala, wedged on the south-western coast of India, finds itself vulnerable to two low-pressure areas in the seas, near and far away.

Heavy rains continue to lash Kerala, six districts under orange alert for 48 hours
A flooded Mavoor Road at Kottooli in Kozhikode city on Tuesday. Photo: Manorama

Why the likely rains are unusual
Heavy rain is invariable bound to lash the state even if the low-pressure area forming in the Arabian Sea towards its southern side turns into a cyclone (like Okhi) or not. However, a low-pressure area forming near the Lakshadweep Islands and moving towards Kerala is not a usual phenomenon. This is one of the reasons making October unprecedented this time.

As always the low-pressure area forming in the Bay of Bengal may not affect Kerala directly, it might indirectly result in strengthening the rains in the state.

Ban on fishing; orange and yellow alert to be in place
The Indian Meteorological Department has issued a strong warning to fishermen against venturing into sea till October 16. Orange alert was sounded in Palakkad, Malappuram districts for October 15, and Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Kannur districts for October 16.

Orange alert means a serious situation where these districts could receive up to 20 cm of rainfall in 24 hours. This especially when the soil is already wet because of the incessant rainfall. Amature weathermen are apprehensive that this could lead to small movement causing floods.

Yellow alert has been sounded in the following districts for October 15; Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kottayam , Idukki, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Kannur and Kasaragod.

Yellow alert has been sounded for October 16 for Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Idukki, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad, Kasargod districts.

(As per the Met standards, a Red alert denotes heavy to extremely heavy rains of over 20 cm in 24 hours, while Orange alert signifies very heavy rains of 6 cm to 20 cm of rains. A Yellow alert, on the other hand, denotes heavy rainfall between 6 to 11 cm.)

Representational photo

Possibility of high-velocity winds too
The Indian Meteorological Department has predicted high-velocity winds in Kerala till October 18. The following are the instructions issued by the State Disaster Management Authority to deal with strong winds:

Steps to be undertaken by the public

(a) Strong winds are state specific disasters which cause massive destruction to life and property. There is a possibility of accidents happening because of the uprooting of trees and damage to windows.

(b) Under no circumstance should one stand under the trees, or park their vehicles under the trees during rain and strong winds.

(c) The trees on the premises, branches hanging dangerously should be pruned or cut and removed. If one finds trees that could cause danger, the information should be passed on to the local bodies concerned.

(d) Since the precariously hanging advertisement hoardings, boards, electric poles are likely to get uprooted, these should be strengthened or removed when there is no high-velocity winds or heavy rains. Avoid standing under hoardings or parking vehicles during strong winds or heavy rains.

(e) Ladders or similar objects which are kept against walls are likely to fall because of strong winds. Hence these should be either kept in safe places or tied strongly using ropes.

(f) All doors and windows of the house should be shut when strong winds start blowing. Avoid standing near doors and windows. Avoid standing on the terrace of the building at this time.

(g) Those staying in thatched houses or in houses with tin roofs, should get in touch with the authorities concerned on the number 1077 in advance. They should shift to safer places whenever the authorities issue warnings.

(h) As per the disaster management scheme of the local bodies, if required people have to be shifted to relief camps. The officials of local bodies, revenue and elected representatives should take the initiative to move the people to relief camps to be set up in compliance with the COVID-19 protocol.

(i) When winds and rains gain strength there is a possibility of the snapping of electric lines, uprooting of electric posts. If one notices such dangerous situations, they should immediately alert KSEB control room on 1912, or on 1077 district disaster management authority control room. Maintenance work should be avoided during heavy rain or winds. But once there is respite from rains and strong winds, the maintenance works should be carried out immediately. People should patiently co-operate with KSEB officials who are working in extremely adverse conditions. People should avoid doing such repair works themselves.

(j) People who set out early in the morning for distributing milk or newspaper should maintain special vigil. They should ensure that on the way there are no electric wires that might have fallen into areas clogged by water. In the event of sensing anny danger, they should immediately inform the control room. One should move forward only after ensuring that everything is safe.

(k) Before entering paddy fields one needs to ensure that the electric lines passing through the area are safe.

(l) Those engaged in construction works should should stop the work and move to safe places in the evening of strong winds or heavy rains.

(m) Keep tabs on the Indian Meteorological Department’s prediction update NOWCAST for districts which might experience heavy rains or lightening and thunder during next three hours on the website https://www.imdtvm.gov.in

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