First cyclone of the season skips Myanmar
A red-level alert was downgraded to yellow yesterday, as an intensifying storm developing over the Bay of Bengal veered northwest and is no longer forecast to make landfall in Myanmar.
A STORM gathering in the Bay of Bengal is now anticipated to unleash heavy rain on Myanmar, but the cyclone has turned northwest and is forecast to hit India and Bangladesh instead.
The Department of Meteorology and Hydrology said yesterday that the cyclone is no longer on track to make landfall in Myanmar. The red alert, indicating a storm is expected to cross the coastline within 12 hours, has been downgraded to yellow, meaning the storm has formed but is not directed toward Myanmar.
While no longer in the path of the season’s first cyclone, thousands of residents in the delta are still expected to bear the brunt of the storm before it curves. Labutta and Thandwe townships are still in the rage of gusting winds up to 40 miles (65 kilometres) per hour. Flooding continues to be forecast as a major risk.
Residents of Ayeyarwady Region’s Lubutta and Myaungmya townships and Haigyi island were evacuated to shelters on October 23, according to U Ko Ko Naing, director general of the Ministry of Social Welfare’s relief and resettlement department. Since Thandwe is situated on high ground, the residents were not transferred.
Residents of Myaungmya township were allowed to return home yesterday after the DMH announced the storm was charting a northwest course.
The relief and resettlement department said they have put in place an early warning system to ensure coastal residents can evacuate and get to relief camps before a major storm.
Rain lashing the coast is expected to reach 10 to 12 inches (25-30 centimetres) by tomorrow, increasing the risk of flooding.
A separate depression forming in the eastern Bay of Bengal could result in another tropical cyclone system later this week or early next week.