Climate Change

Cyclone Burevi hurtling towards Trincomalee on Lanka’s east coast

The cyclone will make a second landfall on December 3-4 along the Tamil Nadu coast

By Akshit Sangomla, Giriraj Amarnath
Published: Wednesday 02 December 2020
Cyclone Burevi is projected to be near Jaffna, Northern Sri Lanka at 11:30 am on December 3, 2020. Photo: Earth Null School__

Cyclone Burevi is hurtling towards the eastern coast of Sri Lanka coast and will make landfall sometime on the night of December 2, 2020, close to the city of Trincomalee between Batticaloa and Mullaitivu.

The cyclone was located around 200 kilometres (km) east-south east of Trincomalee in the morning (8:30 am) of December 2, according to the latest update from the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

It is moving in a west northwestward direction at significant pace of 18 km per hour (kmph). The cyclone’s current wind speeds are around 75-85 kmph, with gusts of up to 95 kmph.

The storm will further intensify slightly to wind speeds of 80-90 kmph, with gusts of up to 100 kmph by the evening of December 2. The same wind speeds will be maintained at landfall as well.

Intermittent rainfall, sometimes accompanied by thunder will occur in the Eastern, Northern, North Central and Uva provinces and the Hambantota and Matale districts.

Heavy rainfall of more than 100 millimetres (mm) can be expected at some places. The cyclone will bring rain to several places in the North-western province as well.

Fairly strong gusty winds (25-40 kmph) can be expected in Northern, North Central, Eastern, North Western and Western provinces.

Since 1900, there have been 24 cyclones that have impacted Sri Lanka. The country is highly vulnerable to cyclones due to its position near the confluence of the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean, according to the country’s meteorological department. Fourteen of these cyclones were moderate storms while ten were severe or above.

Two of the recent cyclones that affected the country were Cyclone Roanu in May 2016 and very severe Cyclone Ockhi in November 2017.

Cyclone Roanu caused widespread flooding and landslides in 22 out 25 districts in the country, destroying homes and submerging entire villages.

At least 104 people are known to have died following this disaster; 99 people are still missing, many as the result of a landslide in Aranayake, Kegalle District, that devastated three villages.

An estimated 301,602 people have been affected by this disaster, including at least 21,484 people who remain displaced from their homes. After that, very severe Cyclone Ockhi in November 2017 also had a major impact on Sri Lanka, with 26 fatalities and great financial losses. 

After causing rainfall and causing destruction with its winds, Cyclone Burevi will cross over into the Bay of Bengal December 3.

The impact will then shift to the Indian side of the Palk Strait, beginning with Ramanthapuram and then the Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu.

The IMD predicts that the storm will make a second landfall along the Tamil Nadu coast between Kanyakumari and Pamban on the night of December 3 or in the morning of December 4, with wind speeds of 70-80 kmph, with gusts of up to 90 kmph.

It will be a double whammy for Tamil Nadu as the state is still trying to assess the damages and recuperate from the damage caused by very severe Cyclone Nivar that made landfall along the state’s coast just last week.

The cyclone had destroyed 10,000 hectares of crops in the state while the damage in Andhra Pradesh that got a lot of rainfall from the cyclone was in a huge area of 6.59 lakh hectares.

Cyclone Burevi might also have an impact with rainfall in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Telangana. The extent of the impact and damage remains to be seen. 

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