Monday, 18 November 2019

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Laila to rain on Burma’s northwest coast

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Cyclone Laila, which originated in the southern Bay of Bengal, will cross the Burmese coast near the port of Sittwe in the next three days, according to meteorologists. 

Laila last night (May 20) was crossing the Indian coastline north of Chennai, with core winds reaching speeds of 140 km/h, and it may cross Burma’s coast near Sittwe in the next 72 hours, Tun Lwin, a government meteorologist based in Rangoon, said. 

“According to my calculations, it may cross the Burmese coast at the northern tip of Rakhine (Arakan) State,” he told Mizzima. “The storm will weaken as it moves into the interior land areas and may cause only heavy rain.” 

“[However] If the storm hits Burma from the sea it will get stronger”, he said. 

Laila may take another three days to reach the Arakan coast so it was impossible to estimate the exact wind speed in advance, he added. 

“It is currently moving over land in the Indian interior and we’ve heard that it is quite strong,” he said. “The storm should move to the northwest in the monsoon season but as the monsoon has not yet arrived, it could not … so it is turning towards us.”

Laila originated as a low pressure system in the southern reaches of the Bay of Bengal on Monday (May 17) and developed into a low-intensity storm the following day. It then intensified and was given the “yellow” code and named “Laila” by Pakistan. 

Singapore-based Fugro Global Environmental and Ocean Sciences senior marine meteorologist Stewart Tin Tun Myint said Cyclone Laila may enter Arakan State and Bangladesh through India but by that time would not be dangerous.

“If it turned to Burma, its surface wind speed will be between 25 to 30 knots only. It will not be in a dangerous stage.” he said. “It will weaken when it reaches inner land areas since it can’t get the water vapour required [to maintain its strength].”

Today’s daily papers in Rangoon ran stories titled “Storm Warning and Reminders for Preventive Measures”, reporting that “Laila” was at a strong stage affecting the southwest and midwest of the Bay of Bengal but that it would not enter Burma. 

The reports also said the “maximum surface wind speed” of the storm might reach 75 mph (120km/h). 

Thunderstorms were expected elsewhere along the Burmese coastline and offshore with torrential rains and strong winds causing squalls and rough seas, experts said. Surface wind speed may reach about 40 mph (72 km/h) when Laila hits Burma. 

Generated by Laila, “seas towards the Rakhine (Arakan)  coast will still be rough for the next two to three days off and along the Rakhine (Arakan) coast, [with swells] estimated at three to four metres (nine to 12 feet),” Dr. Tin Tun Myint said. “Conditions are still hazardous for fishermen in small boats.” 

“According to observations this afternoon offshore from Rakhine, the wave height is 3.5 metres (10 feet),” he said. 


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