DEC 2 - 8:00 AM: The death toll in India due to cyclone Ockhi has touched 12. According to IMD and Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), the severe cyclonic storm is likely to intensify further in the next 24 hours and several locations on the Lakshdweep islands would experience heavy to very heavy rainfall and high waves ranging from 4.8-7.4m.
DEC 1 - 2: 00 PM: At least 16 people have been reportedly killed across India and Sri Lanka. Nine people were killed in India and seven in neighbouring Sri Lanka. About 100 people are missing after the cyclone uprooted trees and cut power supply for millions. Wind speed has touched 130 kilometres (80 miles) per hour in some places.
DEC 1 - 1: 00 PM: Cyclonic storm Ockhi over Southeast Arabian Sea has intensified into a severe cyclonic storm. It is very likely to continue moving west-northwestwards across Lakshadweep Islands during the next 24 hours. “With more sea travel left, the system is very likely to get more marked during next 24 to 48 hours,” according to Skymet Weather. The system will continue to move in warm sea surface temperatures of around 30°C.
DEC 1 - 9:30 AM: Cyclone Ockhi killed nine people in coastal Kerala and Tamil Nadu and damaged dozens of houses in Tamil Nadu's Kanyakumari dstrict. It is now moving closer to Lakshadweep. As of this morning, the cyclone is around 160 km east of Lakshadweep in the Arabian Sea.
NOV 30 - 10: 30 PM: At least four people have died in Tamil Nadu as heavy rain and strong winds disrupted normal life in the state. Over 825 people have been evacuated from low lying areas of Tamil Nadu's Kanyakumari district, where about 985 electric poles were affected. Cyclone Ockhi is likely to gain a wind speed of upto 120 kmph by Friday morning. Lakshadweep, South Kerala and Tamil Nadu are likely to be hit by heavy rainfall.
In Kerala, about 200 fishermen have been reportedly missing off the coast of Thiruvananthapuram. The Indian Navy has launched search and rescue operations in southern part of the state.
A deep depression formed over Comorin area has gradually moved towards mainland Tamil Nadu with a speed of 38 kmph and intensified into a cyclonic storm ‘OCKHI’, according to the latest observations and satellite imageries.
The cyclone is positioned at 60 km south of Kanyakumari, 120 km southwest of Thiruvananthapuram and 480 km east-southeast of Minicoy. The system is likely to move west-northwestwards towards Lakshadweep Islands and intensify further into a severe cyclonic storm in the next 24 hours, according to the forecast by the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
Chennai received up to 600 mm of rain between 8:30 pm on Wednesday and 8:30 am this morning.
Heavy to very heavy rainfall is likely over south Tamil Nadu and south Kerala during next 24 hours. Isolated heavy rain falls over interior Tamil Nadu and Kerala in the subsequent 24 hours is also being forecast.
Lakshadweep area will see heavy to very heavy rainfall and isolated extremely heavy rainfalls over during next 48 hours. According to the IMD forecast, wind speed, reaching up to 85 kmph could be experienced along and off south Kerala during next 48 hours and south Tamil Nadu during next 24 hours.
In the Lakshadweep Islands, the wind speed might reach 100 kmph by tonight.
Cyclone Ockhi is expected to cause damage in south Kerala (Alappuzha, Kottayam, Idukki, Kollam, Pathanathitta, Thiruvananthapuram districts), south Tamil Nadu (Kanyakumari, Tutukudi and Tirunelveli districts) and Lakshadweep Islands. Damage to thatched houses, power and communication lines, paddy crops, banana, papaya trees and orchards is likely.
In south Tamil Nadu, south Kerala and Lakshadweep Islands, fishermen have been advised not to venture into the sea during the next 48 hours.
A satellite-based measure of Phailin’s (pronounced 'pie-reen', not 'pie-leen', the Thai word for sapphire) strength is estimated as the storm’s central pressure at 910.7 millibars, with sustained winds of 175 mph (280 kmph). If those numbers were verified by official forecast agencies, they would place Phailin at par with 2005′s Hurricane Katrina, and break the record for the most intense cyclone in Indian Ocean's recorded history, says weather historian Christopher Burt.
India's eastern coast has a long history of devastating cyclones. The worst of these (since 1990) was the “Great Orissa Cyclone of 1999” (Orissa state in north-eastern India is now known as Odisha). This cyclone killed 9,000-10,000 people when it made its landfall on October 19, 1999 with 155 mph winds and a storm surge of 26 feet (8 metre). The storm was classified as a ‘Super Cyclonic Storm’ in the nomenclature of tropical storms that affect the North Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal, and the Arabian Sea.
Jeff Masters, hurricane hunter and meteorologist who writes a blog for Weather Underground, says there is good reason to be concerned when a major tropical cyclone forms in the Bay of Bengal.
He says 26 of the 35 deadliest tropical cyclones in world history have been Bay of Bengal storms. During the past two centuries, 42 per cent of Earth's tropical cyclone-associated deaths have occurred in Bangladesh, and 27 per cent have occurred in India.
Phailin compared with 1999 super cyclone
“Phailin is likely to be the strongest tropical cyclone to affect India in fourteen years, since the great 1999 Odisha Cyclone. Although Phailin is expected to hit the same province of India that the great 1999 Odisha Cyclone hit, Phailin's landfall location is predicted to fall about 100 miles (170 km) farther to the south, in a region where the coast is not as low-lying. This should keep the death toll due to storm surge much lower compared to the 1999 Odisha Cyclone, where more than 70 per cent of the deaths occurred due to the storm surge,” he explains.
The latest storm surge forecast from India Meteorological Department predicts a peak surge under 3', but this is much too low, considering Phailin's recent round of rapid intensification. Phailin's heavy rains will be capable of causing great destruction, as did the rains from the 1999 Odisha cyclone. More than 2,000 of the deaths at that time occurred because of fresh water flooding in the town of Padmapur, located more than 150 miles (241 km) from the coast. Deforestation was cited as a contributing cause to these destructive floods that killed 36 per cent of the town's population, Masters explains.
Burt says that details (like barometric pressure and wind speeds) for historic cyclones that have affected India in the past (prior to 1990) are sketchy. The lowest barometric pressure ever measured in the Bay of Bengal was during a severe cyclone in 1833 when the British vessel SS Duke of York reported a pressure of 891mb (26.30”) while passing through the eye of a storm in the bay. As Masters mentioned, the Odisha Cyclone of 1999 bottomed out at 912 mb (26.93”) and was the most intense such to strike India in at least the past 35 years or so (note that Phailin has apparently become even more intense if the 910 mb figure stands). The death toll of the 1999 storm of over 9,000 was the greatest in India since the so-called Devi Taluk cyclone that killed 14,200 in Andhra Pradesh on November 12, 1977.
Most of the deadliest tropical storms on earth have occurred in the Bay of Bengal when tremendous storm surges have swamped the low-lying coastal regions of Bangladesh, India, and Burma, says Burt. The worst of all was the Great Boha Cyclone of November 12-13, 1970 when a 40-foot storm surge overwhelmed the delta islands of the Brahmaputra and Ganges rivers in Bangladesh. An estimated 300,000-500,000 perished. This storm is also considered to have produced the greatest storm surge of any Indian Ocean cyclone although similar surges may have occurred during the 1733 and 1876 cyclones.
|History of cyclones in Odisha|
|SI.No.||Date/Year||Category of Cyclone||Landfall and loss|
|1.||7-12 October,1737||Super Cyclone||Crossed West Bengal Coast over Sunderbans|
|2.||31 October, 1831||Very Severe Cyclonic Storm||Crossed Odisha Coast near Balasore, Loss of life-50,000|
|3.||2-5 October,1864||Very Severe Cyclonic Storm||Crossed West Bengal Coast near Contai|
|4.||1-2 November, 1864||Very Severe Cyclonic Storm||Crossed Andhra pradesh near Machilipatnam|
|5.||22 September, 1885||Super Cyclone||Crossed Odisha Coast at False Point, Loss of life- 5000|
|6.||14-16 October, 1942||Very Severe Cyclonic Storm||Crossed West Bengal Coast near Contai|
|7.||8-11 October, 1967||Very Severe Cyclonic Storm||Crossed Odisha Coast between Puri and Paradeep|
|8.||26-30 October, 1971||Very Severe Cyclonic Storm||Crossed Odish Coast near Paradeep, Loss of life- 10,000|
|9.||14-20 November,1977||Super Cyclone||Crossed Andhra Coast near Nizampatnam|
|10.||4-11 May,1990||Super Cyclone||Crossed Andhra Coast about 40 Km S-W of Machlipatnam|
|11.||5-6 November, 1996||Very Severe Cyclonic Storm||Crossed Andhra Coast near Kakinada|
|12.||25-31 October, 1999||Super Cyclone||Crossed Odisha Coast near Paradeep at noon of 29 October|
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