Orange alert in Kerala as ‘low’ threatens to unleash rain fury over six districts

An ‘orange alert’ has been declared afresh in six districts in Kerala in view of the heavy to very heavy rain expected to be generated as an incoming low-pressure area readies itself to occupy a familiar vantage point in the Gulf of Mannar from where it can dictate weather over both Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

This is even as the two spillway shutters of the Mullaperiyar dam on the inter-state border in Kerala’s Idukki district were opened this (Friday) morning after the reservoir level crossed 138 feet after sustained heavy to very heavy rain lashed the catchment areas of the more-than-a-century-old dam.

An India Meteorological Department (IMD) update on Friday morning said that the ‘low’ lay over the South-West Bay of Bengal and adjoining Sri Lanka off the Tamil Nadu coast and will likely move westwards during the next two days. A helpful trough in easterlies runs from the cyclonic circulation associated with this ‘low’ to the North-West Bay of Bengal.

Rains for Tamil Nadu, Kerala

This combine will bring heavy to very heavy rainfall at isolated/few places over Tamil Nadu and isolated heavy rainfall over Kerala and Mahe for four days from Friday. Heavy rainfall is likely at isolated places over Coastal Andhra Pradesh during Friday-Sunday with isolated very heavy falls on Friday.

Also read: Heavy rain lash Kerala, TN as ‘low’ lurks off Sri Lanka coast

Heavy rainfall is likely at isolated places over Coastal and South Interior Karnataka on Sunday and over Rayalaseema on Friday and Saturday. Thunderstorms and lightning have been forecast over Kerala, Mahe, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Karaikal, Coastal Andhra Pradesh and Rayalaseema until Monday.

‘Orange alert’ in Kerala

In Kerala, an ‘orange alert’ may be valid for now in six districts but the State government is no taking chances as it emerges from an unexpected rainfall surge in early October that triggered catastrophic floods and landslides in some vulnerable districts of a scale that rivalled that of the 2018 events.

Given this, the State government has upgraded the level of preparedness to the equivalent of a red alert. A milder yellow alert is valid in the districts of Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode and Wayanad districts. Fishermen have been advised against venturing out into the seas.

Circulation in the Arabian Sea

Along with the ‘low’ in the Bay, a cyclonic circulation in the Arabian Sea has thrown its weight in into the scheme of things. The Bay ‘low’ is widely thought may take the track pioneered by cyclone ‘Burevi’ in December last year, though unlike the latter, it may go on to make a splash in the Arabian Sea.

Also read: ‘Low’ forms over the Bay, spells heavy rain for South

The month of October has already delivered 87 per cent of the rainfall that the North-East monsoon is normally expected to during the three-month season ending in December, filling up most of the reservoirs in the state to the maximum possible level, leading to opening of shutters at some of them.

Meanwhile, the IMD has said in its extended outlook for the week ending November 11 that the normal to above normal rainfall regime will continue to hold as the North-East monsoon receives further heft from a second low-pressure area likely building up in the Bay of Bengal.