What is Kallakkadal, which has flooded houses in Kerala’s coastal areas?

Syllabus: GS-I, Subject: Geography, Topic: Climatology, Issue: Kallakkadal

Context: Hundreds of houses have been flooded in coastal areas of Kerala due to high swell surge or Kallakkadal.


  • A combination of two Malayalam words meaning “thief” and “sea,” symbolising the ocean’s sudden arrival.
  • Refers to coastal flooding caused by swell waves during the pre-monsoon season on the southwest coast of India.

Factors responsible for formation:

  • Caused by ocean swells generated by distant storms or intense gale winds, travelling thousands of kilometres until they reach the shore.
  • Strong winds in the southern Indian Ocean generate ocean swells, which then move northward to affect the Kerala coast and Lakshadweep.


  • Kallakkadal occurs without precursors or local wind activity (challenging to predict)

Preparedness measure: Early warning systems like the Swell Surge Forecast System offer forecasts up to seven days in advance.

Scroll to Top