Natural Disasters

2019 set to be record-breaking cyclone year for India

Cyclone Bulbul, to hit Andhra and Odisha by November 9, to be seventh such storm this year

By DTE Staff
Published: Monday 04 November 2019
The predicted landfall site of Cyclone Bulbul. Photo: @imarun777/Twitter

India will break its previous record of having been hit by the most number of tropical cyclones in a year, private weather forecasting agency Skymet said in its latest bulletin. Last year, the country broke its 33-year record, after having been hit by seven cyclones.    

Cyclone Bulbul, which is brewing in the Bay of Bengal, will hit the states of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha by November 9. “This is the seventh cyclone of 2019 which will affect India. We are already on a par with 2018 when a record of seven Cyclones was made. It is very likely that in 2019, we may surpass the number of 2018,” a release from the agency said.

In the wake of this system, torrential rains are foreseen between November 9 and 12 over the east coast, especially Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.

A low-pressure area has developed currently over the North Andaman Sea. By November 5-6, it will become a depression over the east-central Bay of Bengal. “Presently, we expect the system to continue its movement in a west-north-westward direction and intensify further into a deep depression and subsequently into a cyclone,” said Skymet.

A favourable sea temperature of around 29-30 degrees Celsius is fuelling the depression into a cyclone. This will cause heavy rainfall in the coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.

According to the Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre for Tropical Cyclones over North Indian Ocean (RSMCTC) of the India Meteorological Department (IMD), 2018 surpassed the Long-Period average (LPA) of cyclonic disturbances over North Indian Ocean areas. Last year had 14 such events while the annual average is 12 (1961-2017).

Of these, seven turned into tropical cyclones — much higher than the 4.5 annual average ('61-'17).

“The last such development of seven cyclones in a year occurred in 1985 (33 years back). It included two cyclonic storms, one severe cyclonic storm, three very severe cyclonic storms and one extremely severe cyclonic storm,” said RSMCTC in its analysis, featured in its annual report for 2018 and published this year in July.

In 2017, however, the number of tropical cyclones was lower than the LPA. This year had three tropical cyclones.

Recently, Down To Earth reported: “The severe cyclone frequency in the north Indian Ocean (the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea) has registered about a three-fold increase during the past decades. As compared to the previous decades, when about one severe cyclone was expected to form every year during the intense cyclonic period — May, October and November — the number has now gone up to about three per year.”

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