Hyderabad: The very severe cyclonic storm Lehar weakened to a cyclonic storm today, as wind speed fell to 90 kmph from 180 kmph, hours before landfall expected on Thursday.
It changed direction and may now make landfall as a cyclonic storm between Machilipatnam and Nellore. “It will cross the coast as a cyclonic storm, similar to the pattern of Helen and, within the next 12 hours, it will further weaken into a deep depression.
Many areas across Telangana, including the city, may get heavy rainfall on November 28 and 29 under the influence of Lehar as it is moving west-north-west,” said assistant meteorologist at the Meteorological Centre, Hyderabad, M. Narsimha Rao.
According to the US Navy and Air Force Joint Typhoon Warning Centre, the declining trend started as the wind field of the system weakened though it was moving steadily.
The Cyclone Warning Centre in Visakhapatnam forecast that the cyclonic storm may strike the coast as a tropical storm and the point of landfall will be near Perupalem beach in West Godavari district.
Lehar weak now but might intensify soon
Lehar is currently located over the Bay of Bengal at about 450 km east-southeast of Machilipatnam and 400 km south-east of Kakinada. It is moving at a very slow pace of 15 kmph.
It will move west-north-westwards and will weaken gradually crossing the AP coast near Machilipatnam as a cyclonic storm on November 28 afternoon.
According to the Meteorological department, four coastal districts of Krishna, Guntur, East and West Godavari, are likely to be heavily impacted by the storm.
Visakhapatnam, Prakasam, Nellore, Vizainagaram and Srikakulam will be less affected.
“Lehar is very unpredictable. It is coming under the influence of the Northeast monsoon and is losing its strength. It is approaching the coast, but the impact is thankfully less than predicted,” said head of the department of meteorology and oceanology, Andhra University, S.V.S.S. Ramakrishna.
Very rough sea conditions, with very high waves on November 28 accompanied by a storm surge of 1.0 metres above astronomical tide will inundate low-lying areas of West and East Godavari, Guntur and Krishna districts of AP and Yanam district of Puducherry.
Fishing operations have been suspended and coastal hutment dwellers have been moved to a safer place. Squally wind speeds reaching 70-80 kmph, gusting to 90 kmph, will commence along and off coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh, and could cause extensive damage to thatched roofs and huts, agricultural crops, and communication systems.
Coastal areas have been getting heavy rains from Wednesday evening, and the intensity is expected to increase on Thursday, November 28.