Authorities on toes as Cyclone Bipa­rjoy draws closer

Published June 11, 2023
A satellite image of Cyclone Biparjoy.—PMD
A satellite image of Cyclone Biparjoy.—PMD

KARACHI: Cyclone Bipa­rjoy, which is heading towards the coastal areas of Pakistan and India, is likely to intensify into an ‘extremely severe cyclonic storm’ during the next 24 hours, officials associated with Pakistan Meteo­rological Depart­ment (PMD) said, advising the authorities concerned to be on high alert as it can cause flooding, particularly in the low-lying areas, among other damages.

According to a PMD alert released around 9.45pm on Saturday, the system was located 840km south of Karachi, 830km south of Thatta and 930km southeast of Ormara.

“The cyclone over the east-central Arabian Sea has formed an eye, indicating that the system has grown more organised and more powerful,” chief meteorologist Dr Sardar Sarfaraz told Dawn.

According to him, the cyclone is currently directed towards the coastal areas of Karachi, Thatta, Sujawal, Badin, Tharparkar and the adjoining areas of Indian Gujarat.

Fishermen advised not to venture in open sea from today

“It’s likely to make a landfall on June 14 or 15. The situation will be clearer by Sunday evening.”

In its alert, the Met department stated that the very severe cyclonic storm — Biparjoy — over east-central Arabian Sea was maintaining its intensity and had further tracked north-northeastward during the past 12 hours.

“It now lies near Latitude 17.3°N & Longitude 67.4°E at a distance of about 840km south of Karachi, 830km south of Thatta and 930km southeast of Ormara.

“Maximum sustained surface winds are 130-140km per hour and gusts 150km per hour around the system centre. Sea conditions are phenomenal around the system centre with maximum wave height [of] 25 to 28 feet.”

The system, the advisory says, supported by environmental conditions; favourable sea surface temperature of 30-32°C, low vertical wind shear and upper-level divergence. This can help intensify the system further into an extremely severe cyclonic storm in the next 24 hours.

PMD’s cyclone warning centre, Karachi is monitoring the system and will issue update accordingly, it says.

Possible impact

According to the advisory, the system with its probable north-northeast track, the rain-thunderstorm with some very heavy falls and squally winds (60-80km/hour) are expected in southern/ southeastern Sindh (Karachi, Thatta, Sujawal, Badin, Tharparker and Mirpurkhas districts) from the June 13 evening onwards.

“Squally (high intensity) winds may cause damage to loose and vulnerable structures (kutcha houses). Storm surge of three metres (8-10 feet) is possible.”

Fishermen are advised not to venture in open sea from June 11 onwards till the system is over, as the sea conditions may get very rough accompanied with high tides along the coast, it warns.

Entry to beaches banned

Meanwhile, the Karachi commissioner has banned entry to the beaches in Karachi, given the looming cyclone threat.

The city’s administration has banned fishing, sailing, swimming, and bathing at seas within the territorial limit of Karachi owing to the threat from June 11 till the end of the storm.

Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2023

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