Tropical Cyclone Vardah Nearing Landfall in India

Tropical Cyclone Vardah moved steadily toward a landfall near Chennai India on Sunday.  At 10:00 p.m. EST on Sunday the center of Tropical Cyclone Vardah was located at latitude 13.2°N and longitude 81.1°E which put it about 60 miles (105 km) east of Chennai, India.  Vardah was moving toward the west at 10 m.p.h. (16 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 85 m.p.h. (135 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 105 m.p.h. (170 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 967 mb.

The Indian Meteorological Department’s radar at Chennai shows that Tropical Cyclone Vardah is very well organized and symmetrical.  There is a circular eye surrounded by a ring of strong thunderstorms.  The strongest storms are west and south of the eye, and the ring is thinner east of the eye.  There are multiple bands of thunderstorms and the heaviest thunderstorms in those bands are also in the western half of the circulation.  The thunderstorms are generating strong upper level divergence which is pumping out mass to the west and north of the tropical cyclone.

Tropical Cyclone Vardah is moving over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  The energy from the ocean will keep Vardah from weakening before it makes landfall.  Tropical Cyclone Vardah will weaken steadily once it begins to move over southern India.

A subtropical ridge north of Vardah is steering the tropical cyclone toward the west and that general motion is expected to continue.  On its anticipated track Tropical Cyclone Vardah will make landfall near Chennai, India in a few hours.  Vardah will continue to move west across southern India after it moves inland.

Tropical Cyclone Vardah will bring strong winds and heavy rain to the area around Chennai.  The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) is 12.7.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) is 11.3 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) is 24.0.  Those indices indicate that Tropical Cyclone Vardah is capable of causing regional minor wind damage when it makes landafall.

Vardah will also generate a storm surge along portion of the coast north of Chennai where the wind will blow the water toward the coast.  Vardah will produce locally heavy rain over Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.  The heavy rain could produce floods and mudslides.