Cyclone Gulab turns into Shaheen

It was all textbook for Cyclone Gulab, that started as a depression in Bay of Bengal on September 24. The system got intensified as a deep depression and later a cyclone that made a landfall on Odisha and Andhra Pradesh coasts two days later. A tropical cyclone, it became the third cyclone in 2021 to hit India after Tauktae and Yaas.

But something unusual happened when it ran the course of the Indian peninsula. The cyclone got weakened gradually after wreaking havoc on the eastern coast of India and bringing heavy rains to central states. The depression moved westwards to Vidarbha in Maharashtra and some districts of south Gujarat.

“It started getting stronger. The primary reason was availability of monsoon trough – a system that was already giving good rainfall to Gujarat. The depression got moisture from the system and continued its westward journey,” said a senior Met department official. “As it reached Arabian Sea, the depression got intensified into deep depression. By late Thursday or early Friday, it would be a full-fledged cyclone, which would be named Shaheen.” The cyclone is likely to travel as far as Middle East after traversing Pakistan coast. “The phenomenon (of a cyclone from Bay of Bengal to again emerge as cyclone in Arabian Sea), though recorded earlier, is rare. The simple reason is loss of intensity once the landfall takes place. It would not have happened if it were not in the ongoing monsoon season,” said the official.

The system has resulted in heavy to very heavy rainfall in several parts of Gujarat since Tuesday, which is likely to continue on Friday. Due to active monsoon in September, the state came back from the brink of a deficient year. September alone accounted for 54% (426mm of 789mm) of seasonal rainfall.

The India Meteorological Department officials said that the deep depression has resulted in widespread rainfall on western coast of Saurashtra and Kutch. Kalyanpur and Khambhalia got 113 mm and 65 mm rainfall in Devbhoomi Dwarka district, followed by 56mm and 52mm in Chotila and Thangadh in Surendranagar, and 47mm each in Mandvi and Lakhpat in Kutch district.

“The rain intensity would reduce from Friday onwards with the cyclone moving away from Gujarat coast. The parts of Saurashtra and Kutch may receive rains on Friday, whereas other parts may get light showers. From Saturday onwards, the state may record reduction in rain activities,” said Manorama Mohanty, head of IMD Gujarat.

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