Tropical Cyclone Ockhi Moves Closer to India

Tropical Cyclone Ockhi moved closer to India on Monday.  At 10:00 p.m. EST on Monday the center to Tropical Cyclone Ockhi was located at latitude 17.9°N and longitude 70.7°E which put it about 170 miles (270 km) west-southwest of Mumbai, India and about 250 miles (400 km) southwest of Surat.  Ockhi was moving toward the northeast at 11 m.p.h. (17 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 70 m.p.h. (110 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 85 m.p.h. (135 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 983 mb.

An upper level trough over the northern Arabian Sea was producing strong southwesterly winds which were blowing across the top of Tropical Cyclone Ockhi.  Those winds were causing significant vertical wind shear.  Microwave satellite imagery was indicating that the shear may be strong enough to push the upper part of Ockhi’s circulation to the northeast of the lower part of the tropical cyclone’s circulation.  The circulation in the middle and upper levels continued to show evidence of an eye surrounded by a ring of strong storms.  Several bands of strong storms were occurring north of the center of circulation.

The upper level trough is steering Tropical Cyclone Ockhi toward the northeast and that general motion is expected to continue for several more days.  On its anticipated track Ockhi will make landfall in Gujarat along the coast of the Gulf of Khambhat within 24 hours.  Strong vertical wind shear will continue to weaken Tropical Cyclone Ockhi.  Ockhi is likely to make landfall as the equivalent of a tropical storm.  Drier air is wrapping around the southern side of the circulation.  The heavy rain will fall over parts of Gujarat before the center of circulation reaches the coast.  Locally heavy rainfall could create the potential for flash floods in some places.