An attempt is made in this study to develop a model to forecast the cyclonic depressions leading to cyclonic storms over North Indian Ocean (NIO) with 3 days lead time. A multilayer perceptron (MLP) model is developed for the purpose and the forecast quality of the model is compared with other neural network and multiple linear regression models to assess the forecast skill and performances of the MLP model. The input matrix of the model is prepared with the data of cloud coverage, cloud top temperature, cloud top pressure, cloud optical depth, cloud water path collected from remotely sensed moderate resolution imaging spectro-radiometer (MODIS), and sea surface temperature. The input data are collected 3 days before the cyclogenesis over NIO. The target output is the central pressure, pressure drop, wind speed, and sea surface temperature associated with cyclogenesis over NIO. The models are trained with the data and records from 1998 to 2008. The result of the study reveals that the forecast error with MLP model varies between 0 and 7.2 % for target outputs. The errors with MLP are less than radial basis function network, generalized regression neural network, linear neural network where the errors vary between 0 and 8.4 %, 0.3 and 24.8 %, and 0.3 and 32.4 %, respectively. The forecast with conventional statistical multiple linear regression model, on the other hand, generates error values between 15.9 and 32.4 %. The performances of the models are validated for the cyclonic storms of 2009, 2010, and 2011. The forecast errors with MLP model during validation are also observed to be minimum. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.