The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a warning to fishermen not to venture into the southeast Bay of Bengal and adjacent areas from May 7 due to the possibility of a cyclonic storm. The storm, named Mocha (Mokha) by Yemen after the Red Sea port city, is expected to cause squally weather with wind speeds of 40 to 50 mph gusting to 60 mph in the southeast Bay of Bengal and neighboring parts of the Andaman Sea. The wind speed is likely to steadily rise in these areas.
The IMD has also advised tourists to restrict their activities in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands from May 8 to 11 due to bad weather conditions, including squally weather and heavy rainfall activity. The cyclonic storm is expected to move towards the Bangladesh-Myanmar coast and may intensify into a very severe cyclonic storm category.
A low-pressure area is expected to emerge over the Southeast Bay of Bengal under the influence of the cyclonic storm around May 7 and consolidate into a depression on May 8. The depression may then intensify into a cyclonic storm while moving towards the central Bay of Bengal, taking shape around May 9. The model predicts a north-northwestward movement till May 10, followed by a northeastward re-curvature approaching southeast Bangladesh and neighboring Myanmar beaches.
The government has sent alerts to collectors in 18 coastal and adjacent districts, as well as officials from 11 departments, although the IMD has not yet issued a particular warning for Odisha. The district administrations, as well as the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF), are prepared for any scenario.
Last year, on May 8, cyclonic storm ‘Asani’ formed in the Bay of Bengal before dissipating and crossing the Andhra Pradesh coast as a depression. On the morning of May 26, 2021, the strong cyclonic storm ‘Yaas’ made landfall in Odisha’s Balasore district. Cyclone Amphan made landfall on the evening of May 20, 2020, between the Sagar Islands of West Bengal and the Hatiya Islands of Bangladesh. The latest storm to form in the Bay of Bengal in April was ‘Fani,’ which made landfall as an exceptionally strong cyclonic storm over the Odisha coast near Puri on May 3, 2019.