Rain from Helen is already inundating east-central India as the tropical cyclone nears landfall.
The strength of Tropical Cyclone Helen is currently equal to that of a strong tropical storm in the Atlantic Basin.
Helen will maintain tropical storm strength as it approaches and then moves into India's Andhra Pradesh state Friday morning local time (Thursday evening EST).
Landfall is expected between the coastal community of Antarvedi and False Divi Point. The city of Machilipatnam lies within this zone.
Wind gusts of 95 to 130 kph (60 to 80 mph) will occur in the vicinity of where Helen comes onshore. Such winds are capable of causing widespread tree damage and power outages. Falling trees threaten to cause additional damage and bodily harm.
Helen's torrential rain is already soaking the Indian coastline and will continue to do so through Friday night. Rain amounts of 100 to 200 mm (4 to 8 inches) are expected across east-central Andhra Pradesh, significantly heightening the concern for flash flooding.
Cities in line for Helen's heaviest rain include Kakinada, Machilipatnam, Vijayawada and Chirala.
Helen will rapidly lose tropical storm status once onshore, causing the widespread heavy rain to taper off on Saturday. However, localized downpours could still accompany the weakened state of Helen across central India through Sunday.
As Helen dissipates, attention will turn to the Andaman Sea where another tropical cyclone will attempt to take shape this weekend. Current indications point toward this possible cyclone taking aim at eastern India around the middle of next week.
All residents of eastern India should continue to check back with AccuWeather.com as more details on next week's tropical cyclone threat become clearer.