Parts of southern Asia and south-west Pacific braced for severe weather

Residents in parts of southern Asia and the south-west Pacific are bracing themselves for potentially severe weather this weekend.

Of particular concern is the potential for flash floods, landslides and avalanches in Pakistan, while Bangladesh and the north-east Indian district of Assam are on severe storm alert for tornadoes for the next seven days.

Meteorologists are also keeping a close eye on the potential for cyclone activity in the south-west Pacific. Julian Heming is an expert in tropical cyclones for the Met Office, he said: “The southern hemisphere tropical cyclone season normally tails off in April, but it seems that there may be a late season storm about to form in the South Pacific.

“Computer models have consistently predicted the formation of a storm close to Vanuatu on Sunday or Monday which then strengthens and moves south-eastwards.

Developing cyclone activity over the south-west Pacific“Predictions from the Met Office model suggest a 60-80 per cent chance that a tropical storm will track across the region between Vanuatu and Fiji in the next seven days. Latest forecasts suggest that if this storm develops it is most likely to pass just south of Fiji. However, any shift northwards in the forecast track in the coming days will take the storm over the islands recently devastated by Cyclone Winston in February.”

Elsewhere, experts are expecting an increase in thunderstorm activity over northern Pakistan potentially producing 150mm-250mm of rainfall over this weekend.

Paul Hutcheon works in the Met Office Global Guidance Unit. He said: “The situation facing northern Pakistan potentially is very serious. Around two weeks ago Pakistan was rocked by severe floods which, reportedly, caused the deaths of around 50 people.

“When you combine the predictions for severe rainfall with the potential for snow melt, associated with a plume of warm air, then the consequences for the next few days could be severe.”

This weekend is also likely to be the start of the Bangladesh tornado season. Paul Hutcheon added: “Upper troughs south of the Himalayas are engaging a very warm plume of air that are producing a risk of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes across parts of Bangladesh and Assam over the next five to seven days. Our forecasts suggest a risk of very large hail and tornadoes.”

Official warnings for the tropical cyclones in the South Pacific are produced by the Fiji Meteorological Service. The Met Office routinely supplies predictions of cyclone tracks from its global forecast model to regional meteorological centres worldwide, which are used along with guidance from other models in the production of forecasts and guidance. We also provide updates on current tropical storms via @metofficestorms on Twitter.

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