Cyclone Mahasen losing steam as it tracks across bay

Monday, 13 May 2013 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Thiruvananthapuram:  The Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre (RSMC) in New Delhi has hinted that tropical cyclone Mahasen in the Bay of Bengal may have started weakening this morning.

It cited satellite imagery to deduce that the cloud system packing into the storm structure has disorganised, thereby weakening it.


Landfall area

Mahasen moved North-westwards and lay centered 600km West-southwest of Car Nicobar; 700km Northeast of Trincomalee (Sri Lanka); 850km southeast of Chennai; and 1,450km South-southwest of Chittagong in Bangladesh.

It would initially move North-westwards during the next 36 hours and re-curve thereafter North-eastwards towards the Bangladesh-Myanmar coast.

But the US Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Centre (JTWC) has recalibrated the expected point of landfall as just north of Chittagong in Bangladesh by Wednesday.

The RSMC estimated the sustained maximum surface wind speed at about 74km/hr gusting to 93km/hr this morning.

Temporary phase

The weakening trend of Mahasen could be temporary, it observed. Prevailing ocean and atmosphere factors support the case for its strengthening as a severe cyclonic storm.

A similar outlook has come in from the US Navy’s JTWC. In its latest update issued at 8.30 a.m. it too noted that the large and densely overcast feature in the system centre has broken up. Convection (evaporation and moisture-building) has become fragmented, but feeder cloud bands have wrapped tighter into the storm centre.

Mahasen could slow down before it turns North-eastward in response to an approaching Western disturbance from North-west India.

Varying outlook

But the storm may continue to intensify to clock a peak of 157km/hr in a couple of days as it makes landfall just north of Chittagong as a moderate cyclone. Other models are also in better agreement with the re-curve scenario towards Bangladesh but with varying track speeds over the period leading up to landfall. The European Centre for Medium-Term Weather Forecasts and the UK Met Office do not see scope for intensification; rather they expect Mahasen to weaken after re-curving.