The first cyclone of the year, Asani, is expected to form over the central Bay of Bengal on March 21.
Although the cyclone is unlikely to cross the Indian coast, heavy rain and strong winds are expected over Andaman and Nicobar Islands. After hitting Andaman, it will make its way to Bangladesh and Myanmar.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a rainfall warning for the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, predicting scattered to fairly widespread rainfall from March 16 to 20. While isolated heavy to very heavy rain can be seen over the Nicobar Islands on March 19, extremely heavy rain can be seen over the islands on March 20.
Fishermen are advised not to venture into the southeast Bay of Bengal from the 19th to the 21st of March, as well as into the Andaman Sea and along and off the Andaman and Nicobar Islands from the 19th to the 22nd of March.
March, April and May are considered as the pre-monsoon months, and generally, cyclonic disturbances start forming over the Bay in May. This year, however, it has woken up much earlier than expected and is likely to throw up the first hurricane of the season in March itself.
In the last 130 years, only seven cyclones have been recorded in the month of March, and only one of them has crossed the Indian coast. It has been nearly two decades since the Indian Ocean has seen a cyclone in the month of March.