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Kyant may dampen Diwali celebrations in India with heavy rain, strong winds

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Cyclonic Storm Kyant will unleash heavy rain and strong winds on parts of eastern India later this week.

The storm could put Diwali celebrations at risk from Friday through the weekend.

Prior to Kyant, the northern Indian Ocean did not have a named cyclone since May.

The newly formed storm will continue to track westward through Thursday before turning more to the southwest and approaching the southern coastline of Andhra Pradesh on Friday and Saturday.

Kyant is expected to slowly strengthen into Thursday as it remains over the open ocean.

Despite strengthening, the worst conditions will remain over the Bay of Bengal where torrential rain and strong winds will be a danger to any boats in the area.

No significant impacts to land are expected through at least Thursday.

Kyant is then expected to weaken as it approaches the southeast coastline of India late in the week.

Even though Kyant will track well to the south, rain is possible from Kolkata and southern Bangladesh southward to Visakhapatnam through Friday. No widespread flooding is expected in these areas as rainfall will generally be less than 25 mm (1.00 inch).

The worst conditions are expected from Friday into Saturday as the storm approaches the coast of India between Ongole and Chennai. Locally damaging winds will be possible with gusts over 80 km/h (50 mph) within 120 km (75 mi) of where the storm makes landfall.

The storm may stall near the coast through the weekend and weaken before drifting southward as it continues to unleash flooding rainfall near the coast of eastern India.

Widespread heavy rainfall will elevate the risk for flooding as rainfall totals 50-100 mm (2-4 inches) with localized amounts over 200 mm (8 inches) are expected.

Areas at highest risk for flooding include Chirala, Ongole, Nellore and Chennai.

"While heavy rainfall is possible in Chennai, flooding similar to the catastrophic 2015 event is not expected," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls said.

Kyant could impact Diwali festivities across eastern India due to rain and wind. The festival runs from 28 October to 1 November.

Separate surges of tropical moisture in the Bay of Bengal could result in another tropical system forming anytime from late this week through next week. Impact areas include Myanmar, the Andaman and Nicobar islands, Bangladesh and eastern India.