KARACHI: The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) said the depression over the southeast Arabian Sea has intensified into cyclonic storm ‘Tauktae’. The cyclone is expected to intensify next week, affecting Sindh’s coastal regions, especially Karachi.
The statement made on Saturday said, as of 0800 PST today, the storm is approximately 1,460 kilometres south southeast of Karachi with maximum sustained winds of 70-90kmph and gusting up to 100kmph.
“The system is likely to intensify further into a Severe Cyclonic Storm (SCS) during the next 12-18 hours and move in the north northwest direction and reach Indian Gujrat by May 18 morning,” said the PMD.
Due to the storm, widespread rains and thunderstorms with “few heavy to very heavy falls and gusty winds of 70-90kmph are likely to occur in Thatta, Badin, Mirpurkhas, Tharparkar, Umerkot and Sanghar districts” of Sindh from May 17 to May 20.
The met department added that rain/thunderstorms with few heavy falls and gusty winds 40 to 60kmph are also likely in Karachi, Hyderabad, Jamshoro, Shaheed Benazirabad, Sukkur, Larkana, Shikarpur, Jacobabad and Dadu districts between May 18 and 20.
Earlier, the Sindh government was devising a strategy to deal with the calamity. Advisor to Sindh Chief Minister on Environment Mustafa Wahab informed that the CM is holding meetings “regarding the arrangements to deal with the cyclone expected to hit the province next week”.
CM Sindh Murad Ali Shah directed all District Commissioners to make disaster desk in their offices to deal with the cyclone management.
Tropical Cyclone Tauktae (pronounced TAW-te) continues to organize in the southeastern Arabian Sea, a couple of hundred miles west of southern India’s Kerala coast and is expected to intensify and could become one of the strongest to threaten parts of western India and eastern Pakistan in more than two decades.
Cyclones in Pakistan are rare; since 1902, Karachi has only seen four cyclones of at least tropical-storm-strength have tracked within 70 miles of itself, weather.com reported. A weakening Cyclone Phet was the last to do so as a tropical storm, then depression, in 2010.
But Pakistan’s strongest cyclone was the cyclone of May 20, 1999, at Category 3 intensity. According to NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division, an estimated 6,200 were killed in Pakistan from storm surge and heavy rain, despite warnings from the government.
The cyclone can cause high winds, heavy rainfall that can flood urban centres. Furthermore, it may cause coastal flooding and storm surge; Tauktae will generate swells that will ride up the coast of western India this weekend. This may lead to erosion at beaches and at least some coastal flooding, particularly at high tide.
Where more dangerous, life-threatening storm surge could occur remains uncertain and is dependent on the exact track. This would occur as the cyclone makes landfall generally ahead of and just to the east of its landfall location.