New Delhi: A cyclone raging in the Arabian Sea has halted the progress of monsoon winds and will reduce rainfall over Kerala for at least two to three days, India’s top weather official said.

Ajit Tyagi, director general, India Meteorological Department, said Cyclone Phet was a temporary hurdle.

Rain route: Monsoon clouds over Kochi on Wednesday. Sivaram V/Reuters

Weather officials are apprehensive about cyclonic storms around India’s coast during the summer monsoon. Cyclone Aila had reduced monsoon rains in June last year, precipitating one of the worst droughts in Indian history.

Phet gained in strength as it moved towards the Persian Gulf state of Oman on Wednesday. Fishermen in India and Oman have been warned to stay off the coast, even though weather agencies in both countries said they expect it to run parallel to the Omani shoreline before roaring northeast towards Pakistan. Phet would steer clear of the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, through which passes 40% of all seaborne oil trade, about 17 million barrels per day.

Reuters contributed to this story.