Tropical Cyclone Biparjoy has made landfall in the western Indian state of Gujarat, near the Pakistani border, unleashing strong gusts of wind that collapsed power lines and uprooted trees.
According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, Biparjoy was equivalent to a severe tropical storm with winds of 65 mph (100 kph) when it made landfall.
As the storm moves steadily inland, the winds and storm surge are expected to weaken, with flooding becoming the most significant impact for millions of people over the next 48 hours.
Heavy rainfall warnings are anticipated to remain in effect for northwest India through Saturday. Probably, 150 to 250 mm (6 to 10 inches) of precipitation will fall, with isolated amounts of up to 500 mm (20 inches) possible.
The meteorological department of Pakistan issued a warning about widespread dust storms and thunderstorms in the southern Sindh province, along with heavy rain and gusty winds of 50-60 mph (80-100 kph).
Local Indian television broadcasts images and video of roadways transforming into rivers, trees bending in the wind, and people wading through floodwater up to their waists.
As of Friday morning local time, neither Pakistan nor India had reported any fatalities, although earlier this week, four boys perished off the coast of the Indian financial center Mumbai.
The Indian military and coast guard stands ready for rescue and relief operations.
Before the cyclone, India and Pakistan took extensive safety precautions to minimize damage and loss of life. Authorities report that approximately 180,000 people in both countries have been evacuated from high-impact areas.
Additionally, livestock was relocated to higher ground, some institutions were closed, and fishing was suspended in Gujarat. Additionally, two of India's main ports have ceased operations.
Malls and businesses along the coast of Karachi, Pakistan's largest metropolis and the provincial capital of Sindh, have been closed. PIA, the national airline of Pakistan, has also instituted precautionary measures, such as 24-hour security, to minimize potential dangers.
According to the National Disaster Management Authority, fishermen have been warned to stay out of the water, and hospitals are staffed with emergency personnel.
Since late last week, Biparjoy has been sweeping across the northeastern Arabian Sea toward southern Pakistan and western India with winds of up to 195 kph (121 mph). It weakened as it approached land, but the region was impacted by torrential rainfall, damaging winds, and storm surges in the days preceding its landfall.
It occurred less than a year after record monsoon rainfall and retreating glaciers decimated large portions of Pakistan, killing nearly 1,600 people.
According to experts, the tempest is also a symptom of the escalating climate crisis.
Researchers from the Shenzhen Institute of Meteorological Innovation and the Chinese University of Hong Kong found in a 2021 study published in Frontiers in Earth Science that tropical cyclones in Asia could have doubled their destructive power by the end of the century, with scientists claiming that they are already becoming more powerful due to the man-made climate crisis.