Sindh, Balochistan on alert as ferocious cyclone nears

PMD says Biporjoy gathers winds of up 150 kmph but unlikely to make landfall in Pakistan

Our Correspondent June 09, 2023
Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) experts suggest that Cyclone Biporjoy was unlikely to make a landfall on the Pakistani coastal belt, but it might touch the Makran coast and bring strong wind to Sindh's coastline. PHOTO: APP


A ferocious cyclone brewed up in the Arabian Sea continued to grow on Friday, generating a wind speed of up to 150 kilometres per hour (km/h) at its centre and prompting the government to issue an alert.

However, the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) experts suggested that Cyclone Biporjoy, as it is called, was unlikely to make a landfall on the Pakistani coastal belt, but it might touch the Makran coast and bring strong winds to Sindh's coastline.

By Friday night, Biporjoy was located at around 1,120km away from Karachi – roughly the same distance between Karachi and Lahore. The PMD said that its wind speed around the system reached 160km/h with 150km/h at its centre.

In the wake of a “very severe” cyclonic storm, the government advised relevant authorities in Sindh and Balochistan to remain alert. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has also advised fishermen not to venture out to the sea till June 13.

According to the PMD, the sea surface temperature of 32 degrees Celsius is providing a favourable environment for cyclone intensification. “Biparjoy has changed its course and slowly tracked in the north-northeast direction during the last 12 hours,” it said.

“It now lies near 14.8°N and longitude 66.5°E at a distance of about 1,120km south of Karachi. Maximum sustained surface winds are 130-150km/h gusts and 160km/h around the system’s centre,” it added.

Some meteorological instruments suggested that the cyclone would affect the west coast of Oman and Pakistan, while others indicate potential impact on the coastal belt of Sindh and Gujarat in India.

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“Owing to the shift in upper-level steering winds, there is an uncertainty regarding the track forecast of Biparjoy, with some taking it to Oman-Pakistan western coast and others indicating towards Indian Gujarat-Pakistan Sindh coast,” the PMD said.

The PMD also advised the fishermen to avoid venturing to the open sea from June 12, as the conditions in the Arabian Sea might prove hazardous for fishing due to the storm and high tides that could occur along the coast.

The PMD predicted that rain accompanied by thunder was expected on the coasts of Sindh and Makran from the night of June 13. Additionally, the coastal areas of Balochistan and Sindh might experience strong winds due to other associated impacts.

Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman said in a tweet: “All relevant authorities, particularly PDMAs (Provincial Disaster Management Authorities) of Sindh and Balochistan, are advised to take stock of preparations and ensure public safety...”

The NDMA said in statement that the developing situation was being monitored by the National Emergencies Operation Centre (NEOC), while the PDMAs had been instructed to conduct a local-level needs assessment.

NDMA Chairman Lt-Gen Inam Haider Malik also chaired a special NEOC meeting, attended by the representatives of the PMD, PDMAs of Sindh and Balochistan, K-Electric and Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA).

The forum provided an update on the cyclone, stating that currently there were no major threats to the coastal areas of Pakistan but the cyclonic system might intensify further and possibly drift towards the Makran Coast of Pakistan.

The NDMA urged the general public in those areas to stay informed and follow the local authorities' guidance in any emergency situation due to the cyclone.



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