Kolkata: Cyclone Laila is unlikely to delay the vital monsoon rains expected to arrive through southern India on 30 May, weather forecasters said on Thursday.
“We are monitoring constantly and so far it appears that there will not be any impact on monsoon. There will be time for a fresh monsoon surge to develop,” said B. P. Yadav, spokesman for the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
The department said the cyclone is likely to weaken in the next 24 hours, but there were signs it would re-emerge in northern Bay of Bengal over the weekend.
Monsoon wading: Commuters travel through a flooded street during heavy rains in Visakhapatnam on Thursday. Reuters
Monsoon rains irrigate 60% of India’s farms. Some experts had blamed the May 2009 Cyclone Aila for the worst rains in nearly four decades last year, which lowered farm output and pushed up food inflation, which now stands at 16.49%.
“The cyclone is likely to weaken, but there is a possibility of it re-emerging again in the Bay of Bengal on 22-23 May,” IMD director general Ajit Tyagi said in a briefing. “The weakening Laila will not turn into a super cyclone.”
It could intensify and move towards north Andhra Pradesh, south Orissa and Bangladesh, he added.
Cyclone Laila, which forced the government to evacuate around 50,000 people and hurt operations at Reliance Industries Ltd’s oilfield on the Bay of Bengal, touched the Andhra Pradesh coast on Thursday.
Alerts were issued in six coastal districts of West Bengal. Heavy rains accompanied by high velocity winds caused by the cyclone, which lay centred around 570km south-west of Gopalpur in Orissa on Thursday, are likely to hit some places in southern parts of the state, weather officials said in Bhubaneswar.
(‘PTI’ contributed to the story.)