Climate Change

Mocha and summer cyclones in India

Usually, October and November constitute the peak cyclone season for India; but the Bay of Bengal has been witnessing cyclones during the summer in the last few years

By DTE Staff
Published: Saturday 06 May 2023

A cyclonic storm called Mocha is likely to form in the southeast Bay of Bengal between May 7 and 9, 2023. Usually, October and November constitute the peak cyclone season for India.

Cyclones forming during this time of the year are categorised as summer cyclones. Over the last few years, the Bay of Bengal has been seeing summer cyclones. 

So far, there is no forecast regarding Mocha’s landfall over India’s coast. This is because predicting the path of summer cyclones is very difficult. Slow-moving cyclones can change paths, recurve or even dissipate without reaching the land. With warming sea temperatures, cyclones can also intensify extremely rapidly, exceeding the forecasted timeframe. 

According to India Meteorological Department Director General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, cyclogenesis is maximum in May. The details of Cyclone Mocha’s path and intensity will be provided after the low-pressure area is formed around May 7, 2023.

Some of the other recent summer cyclones that hit India include 

Cyclone Fani (May 2019)

Not only the worst cyclone to hit Odisha in this century, it was also the longest-lived cyclone in the Bay of Bengal ever observed (11 days in the sea and land put together). It had formed in April, which is the pre-monsoon season.

Super Cyclone Amphan (May 2020)

It made landfall near Digha in West Bengal and ravaged almost the entirety of south Bengal, including Kolkata. 

It was also the costliest tropical cyclone on record in the North Indian Ocean. The economic losses in India amounted to $14 billion according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Marine heatwaves are likely to have helped intensify the cyclone from Category 1, that is cyclonic storm to Category 5  which is super cyclone in less than 36 hours.

Cyclone Nisarga, (June 2020)

It was the strongest tropical cyclone to strike the Maharashtra coast in June since 1891. Mumbai bore the brunt of it, along with some parts of Madhya Pradesh. 

Cyclone Yaas, (May 26, 2021)

It devastated several parts of West Bengal and impacted nearly 10 million people. Coastal areas experienced squalls upto 100 kilometres , apart from large-scale flooding.

Cyclone Tauktae (May 2021)  

It left a trail of destruction along Gujarat’s Saurashtra coast affecting three states on the country’s western coast — Maharashtra, Saurashtra and Kutch region in Gujarat and south Rajasthan.

Cyclone Asani, May 2022

Asani had formed May 7 in the Bay of Bengal and dissipated May 12. It had pulled the monsoon winds into the Andaman Sea but did not pull any further. Very heavy rain was reported in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. 

Considering the impacts of cyclones over the last few years, Odisha’s CM Naveen Patnaik held a meeting earlier this month to audit his state’s preparedness for Mocha. The CM specially urged the NDRF, ODRAF, and Fire Services to be prepared.

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