Cyclone Helen, India


The speed and trajectory of Cyclone Helen has changed slightly since our earlier report below.

The cyclone is expected to make landfall around midday on 22 November (local time). At the moment the most likely location for landfall is expected to be somewhere near the city of Machilipatnam, Krishna district, Andhra Pradesh. The city has a population of around 180,000. Local media reports state that thousands of people in Krishna, Guntur and Prakasam districts are currently being evacuated from their homes.

M. Mahapatra, who is the head of India Meteorological Department’s cyclone warning division, announced the change in the cyclone’s direction earlier today. He also said that there is a chance that the cyclone could well weaken between now and Friday.

However, extremely heavy rainfall in localised areas is still expected, rainsing the risk of flooding in Andhra Pradesh, and possibly the nearby states of Odisha and Tamil Nadu. forecasters say that the rinfall could be around 100mm in some areas, but the worst affected areas are more likely to see as much as 200mm.

Original report, 20 November 2013:

Cyclone Helen, according to Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), is likely to make landfall in the indian state of Andhra Pradesh some time on Thursday, 21 November. It is most likely to first strike in the south of the state, possibly in the town Kavali in Nellore. At the last update, Helen lay around 420 km east of Kavali.

Wind speeds are estimated to be between 75 and 95 kmh once the storm makes landfall. Storm surges of up to 1.5 metres are also expetced around southern coastal Andhra Pradesh, in particular Nellore, Prakasam, Guntur and Krishan districts.

Heavy rainfall is likely to hit areas of both Andhra Pradesh and the neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu and Odisha.

The Indian emergency planning and rescue services worked well to keep the damage caused by Cyclone Phailin to a minimum just a few weeks ago. However, there were still over 30 people killed across 3 different Indian states in the floods that followed the storm, despite predictions of the severity of the floods. Hopefully this time with Cyclone Helen, India’s emergency planners will be prepared for both storm and flooding. Teams from India’s National Disaster Response Force have already been deployed in Nellore, Prakasam, Guntur and Krishna districts. A further 16 teams are on stand-by in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

Cyclone helen, India
Cyclone Phailin, India, October 2013