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Computer model projection of Cyclone Fani moving toward India on May 1, 2019. Image: Earth Simulator

Cyclone Fani is growing in strength and moving slowly north toward the Bay of Bengal, where it threatens to turn into a fierce Category 3 or stronger storm before making landfall in northeastern India. After landfall, the storm may spread strong winds and heavy rains into neighboring Bangladesh.

Why it matters: The cyclone threatens to bring heavy rain, strong winds and storm surge flooding to the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal, and could parallel the coast for a time — making any wobble toward the east or west highly consequential for where it eventually comes ashore on or about May 3. The Bay of Bengal can support high intensity storms, and this region is extremely vulnerable to the range of hazards from tropical cyclones.

Details: Computer models are consistent in showing the storm may increase in intensity — perhaps significantly, as it moves closer to India during the next few days. However, the track forecast is tricky, since slight jogs east or west will make a big difference in where the biggest impacts wind up.

  • It's possible that the Indian city of Kolkata, with a population of nearly 5 million, will be impacted by the weekend, though there's considerable uncertainty about how strong Cyclone Fani will be at the time.
  • After past storms killed thousands, the Indian government, as well as the government of Bangladesh and non-governmental organizations, have invested in systems to warn populations in these regions in advance of such storms.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

What's next: Meteorologists will be watching for the storm to get better organized over the next couple of days, while examining computer model data to determine whether a consensus is emerging about where the storm may make landfall.

This is vital information for ordering any evacuations and staging emergency relief supplies.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas cases, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's own 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks.

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