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Tropical cyclone to threaten southern India with flooding rain into this weekend

A tropical depression has developed to the east of Sri Lanka and will impact India later this week.

This tropical cyclone is expected to track northwest over the next 48 hours with impacts reaching India as early as Wednesday night, local time.

While rain bands could begin to soak coastal areas of Tamil Nadu on Wednesday night, heavy rain and strong winds will remain offshore until Thursday afternoon and Thursday night.

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A turn more toward the west on Thursday will take the cyclone into Tamil Nadu somewhere between Nagapattinam and Chennai.

While the cyclone is not expected to strengthen rapidly, damaging winds will still be possible along the track of the storm.

Areas that could endure damaging wind gusts include Puducherry, Cuddalore, Chidambaram and Tiruvannamalai.

Damaging winds will generally be confined to an area close to the track of the cyclone; however, heavy rain and flooding will be possible across a large portion of southern India through the weekend.

Rainfall totals of 75-150 mm (3-6 inches) are possible from Nagapattinam to Chennai which could result in significant flooding and travel delays. Downpours will expand up the coast to Nellore and Ongole where localized flooding is possible.

Heavy rainfall will also heighten the threat for flooding farther inland including locations such as Tiruchirappalli, Salem, Coimbatore and Dharmapuri.

Bengaluru could get some brief downpours; however, the heaviest rainfall is expected to remain to the south of the city.

The cyclone will weaken dramatically as it crosses India. However, downpours are likely to reach the western coastline where localized flooding is possible on in Kerala and Karnataka.

Heavy rainfall is expected to remain south of Goa though a shower or thunderstorm is possible on Saturday or Sunday.

Sri Lanka will dodge the worst impacts of this cyclone. Rain is expected in northern and eastern areas on Wednesday with lingering showers across the far north on Thursday. No widespread flooding or damaging winds are expected.

Largely dry weather will return to southern India early next week as the cyclone remains weak and tracks away to the west.

However, a second tropical threat could develop during the first half of next week.

This second cyclone could take a track farther putting areas on alert from eastern India through Bangladesh and Myanmar.