The cyclonic storm, Biparjoy, was likely to hit the cities and towns of the coastal belt between June 13 to 17, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said on Sunday.
“This may cause heavy rains in Badin, Sujawal, Umkot, Tharparkar, and Karachi,” he was quoted as saying in a statement.
The cyclonic storm over the east-central Arabian Sea has further intensified into an extremely severe cyclonic storm, according to the Met Office. The cyclone has moved northward over the past 12 hours, and lies near latitude 18.1°N and longitude 67.5°E at about 760km south of Karachi, 740km south of Thatta and 840km southeast of Ormara.
“Maximum sustained surface winds are 150-160km/hour, gusts 180km/hour around the system centre, and sea conditions are phenomenal around the system centre with a maximum wave height 35-40 feet,” said the statement.
The favourable environmental conditions (sea surface temperature of 30-32°C, low vertical wind shear & upper-level divergence) were supporting the system to maintaining its intensity. Under the existing upper-level steering winds, the Biparjoy was most likely to track further northward until the June 14 morning, then recurve northeastward and cross between Keti Bander, (Southeast Sindh) and Indian Gujarat coast on the June 15 afternoon as a very severe cyclonic storm (VSCS).
With the approach of the cyclonic storm to the Southeast Sindh coast, Sindh CM Murad said that widespread wind-dust/thunderstorm rain with some very heavy/extremely heavy falls accompanied by squally winds of 80-100 km/hour was likely in Thatta, Sujawal, Badin, Tharparkar & Umerkot districts during June 13-17.
He added that dust/thunderstorm rain with few heavy falls and accompanied by squally winds of 60-80 km/hour were likely in Karachi, Hyderabad, Tando Muhammad Khan, Tando Allahyar, Mirpurkhas districts from June 13, 14, and 16.
“High-intensity winds may cause damage to loose and vulnerable structures (kutcha houses). The storm surge is expected at Keti Bander. The Arabian Sea conditions may get very rough high accompanied by high tides along the coast, therefore fishermen have been advised not to venture into the open sea,” said the CM.
He warned that Thatta, Sujawal, and Badin have dangers, therefore he has sent the Hyderabad commissioner to evacuate people, if necessary. The Karachi commissioner has also been directed to “secure” billboards.
Murad urged the people not to come out of their homes unnecessarily when the storm hits the coast. The chief minister said that he was in touch with corps commander Karachi, DG Rangers, and GOC Hyderabad to develop close coordination to avoid any untoward incident.