Tropical Cyclone Ockhi Turns Back Toward India

Tropical Cyclone Ockhi turned back toward India on Sunday night as it moved over the eastern Arabian Sea.  At 10:00 p.m. EST on Sunday the center of Tropical Cyclone Ockhi was located at latitude 14.6°N and longitude 68.9°E which put it about 405 miles (650 km) southwest of Mumbai, India.  Ockhi was moving toward the north-northeast at 7 m.p.h. (11 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 80 m.p.h. (130 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 100 m.p.h. (160 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 976 mb.

Tropical Cyclone Ockhi started to weaken on Sunday.  An upper level trough over the northern Arabian Sea was producing southwesterly winds which were causing moderate vertical wind shear.  In spite of the weakening trend, the structure of Tropical Cyclone Ockhi remained well organized.  There was a circular eye at the center of Ockhi.  A ring of strong storms surrounded the eye, but the ring was broken east of the center of circulation.  Several bands of showers and thunderstorms were occurring north of the core of Tropical Cyclone Ockhi.  The bands in the other parts of the circulation consisted primarily of low clouds and showers.  It appeared that some drier air might be wrapping around the southern and western parts of the circulation.  Winds to hurricane/typhoon force extended out about 50 miles (80 km) from the center or circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 180 miles (290 km) from the center.

Tropical Cyclone Ockhi is likely to continue to weaken.  The upper level trough will continue to produce significant vertical wind shear over Ockhi.  The wind shear and drier air will weaken Ockhi to the equivalent of a tropical storm on Monday.  Some models dissipate the circulation of Ockhi before it makes a landfall in India, while other models move a weakened Tropical Cyclone inland before it dissipates.

The trough over the northern Arabian Sea will steer tropical cyclone Ockhi toward the northeast during the next several days.  On its anticipated track the center of Tropical Cyclone Ockhi could make a landfall on the coast of India between Mumbai and Veraval in 36 to 48 hours.  Ockhi could bring gusty winds and heavy rain to the Gulf of Khambhat and surrounding land areas in Gujarat.