Parched Chennaiites pray forecast of freak storm comes true

Ernakulam, Mallapuram, Thrissur and Kozhikode districts have been issued red alert by the Kerala Disaster Management Authority. Representative purpose only. Photo: PTI

All of Tamil Nadu is looking skyward and for good reason. Weather forecasters have predicted a freak cyclone and rain by the end of April. Independent weather analyst Pradeep John, who writes as Tamil Nadu Weatherman on Facebook, says cyclone is a probability and we will get more clarity in three days.

With reservoirs dipping to less than 10% of capacity and monsoons remaining below par for two years in a row, Tamil Nadu, with Chennai in particular, is in the grip of a severe drought. Tamil Nadu misses out on the southwest monsoon that sets over the rest of India during summer. April showers are rare and a storm even rarer in the city. Pradeep John says the last such storm struck more than 50 years ago.

Comments to the FB page jotting is equally interesting as the prediction. One Chinna Thamby Ramaswamy writes, “May fullah mazhai iruku solunga sami… Sona nadakum (Please say, there will be rain throughout May. You say and it will happen).

SR Ramanan, former director, Cyclone Warning Centre, Chennai said the models have indeed predicted a cyclone. “We call it a pre-monsoon cyclone season,” he said. On a note of caution, he said it would be too much to think that Chennai’s water scarcity would be alleviated with one cyclone. If the rain persisted for two or three days, the aquifers would be activated and the water table would rise slightly in Chennai, he added.

Pradeep John said a low-pressure had formed over the Bay of Bengal. “The direction it takes cannot be predicted as of now. We can say with some finality only after two or three days,” he said. There would be intense rainfall wherever the low-pressure stations itself, he added.

On April 19, he noted that it was the ‘best day for Tamil Nadu’ as the rest of the State saw rain. He said the show would continue in interior and southern, western Tamil Nadu and in North Tamil Nadu Vellore, Tiruvannamalai, Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri.

The website keaweather.net said thunderstorms would hit the Western Ghats Areas of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and South-interior Karnataka. “Places like Salem, Coimbatore, Krishnagiri and Kanyakumari expected to see Moderate Thunderstorms in evening times,” the site said on April 19.