- Tropical Cyclone Vayu will threaten western India and southeastern Pakistan later this week.
- Rainfall flooding, storm-surge flooding and damaging winds are all potential impacts.
- This could be the strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall on northwestern India’s coast since 1999.
Tropical Cyclone Vayu is strengthening and poses a danger to parts of western India and southeastern Pakistan later this week, including flooding rain, storm surge and damaging winds. Vayu could be the strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall along far northwestern India’s coastline in 20 years.
Tropical Cyclone Vayu is less than 600 miles south-southeast of Karachi, Pakistan, and is being steered generally northward along the western periphery of a high-pressure system situated over India.
Vayu is the first hurricane-strength system anywhere on Earth since Tropical Cyclone Fani on May 3, according to Dr. Phil Klotzbach, tropical scientist at Colorado State University.
There remains some uncertainty on whether the center of Vayu will move directly inland and make landfall in Gujarat, or if it will turn westward as it approaches the coast and remain just offshore.
Either way, Gujarat state is likely to see dangerous impacts from Vayu, including rainfall flooding, storm-surge flooding and damaging winds.
Rainfall totals of 5 to 10 inches, with localized totals of 10 to 15 inches, are possible in western Gujarat from Wednesday through Friday local time. Life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides are a concern with this large amount of rain.
Dry air will significantly cut down on rainfall totals across inland areas of Gujarat.
A storm surge of 3 to 5 feet (1 to 1.5 meters) above the astronomical tide is possible in low-lying areas along the Gujarat coastline, according to the India Meteorological Department.
Interaction with land should weaken the tropical cyclone as it approaches southeastern Pakistan late in the weekend, but some heavy rain and gusty winds are possible there.
Uncertainty remains high on whether Vayu will officially make landfall in Gujarat. That said, landfalling tropical cyclones are not very common along northwestern India’s Gujarat coast, and stronger tropical cyclones with hurricane-force winds are even rarer.
There have been just three tropical cyclones on record to make landfall in this region of India as a Category 2 or stronger equivalent, according to NOAA’s tropical cyclone database. The last one was a Category 3 tropical cyclone, which made landfall in Gujarat in May 1999.