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Fani is country's strongest April cyclone in 43 years

  • Category
    Geography
  • Published
    10th May, 2019

Cyclonic storm Fani, which is lying about 600 km east of Vishakapatnam and 800 km south of Puri, is the first severe, cyclonic storm to have formed in April in India’s oceanic neighbourhood since 1976, according to records from the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

Context

Cyclonic storm Fani, which is lying about 600 km east of Vishakapatnam and 800 km south of Puri, is the first severe, cyclonic storm to have formed in April in India’s oceanic neighbourhood since 1976, according to records from the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

About

  • Cyclone Fani is expected to graduate to an ‘extremely severe cyclonic storm’ and make landfall in Orissa (as a very severe cyclonic storm) by May 4, according to a forecast by the IMD.
  • Heavy rains are expected in north Andhra Pradesh and Odisha and light rains in West Bengal under the influence of the cyclone.
  • Strong winds are expected in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and south Andhra. Fishermen have been advised to stay away from the sea.
  • It is equivalent in intensity to a Category 4 hurricane in the Atlantic, or a supertyphoon in the Pacific.
  • With winds expected to be 240 kilometers per hour (150 mph) at landfall, Tropical Cyclone Fani would be the strongest storm to hit the region since a similar system struck Odisha in 1999, resulting in at least 10,000 deaths.

Steps taken by India-

  • As Fani has been classified as an "extremely severe cyclonic storm" in India, the country's coast guard and navy deployed ships and helicopters for relief and rescue operations.
  • Army and air force units have also been put on standby in Odisha, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh states.
  • Flights have been canceled at Bhubaneswar Airport in Odisha and for Kolkata Airport.
  • Evacuations have also begun in neighboring Andhra Pradesh, while those in West Bengal have been told to be ready to leave.
  • Fishermen have been warned not to venture out to the sea due to the extreme conditions

Impact-

  • Fani is expected to bring large storm surges and significant wind damage near the landfall location.
  • Inland flooding will also be a major threat.
  • Portions of eastern India and Bangladesh can expect 150 to 300 millimeters (6 to 12 inches) of rain, with locally higher amounts regardless of the intensity.
  • Fani will move nearly parallel to the coast as it approaches India. A slight move to the east or west would have a significant impact on the timing of landfall as well as its intensity.
  • A more easterly track means that landfall would be farther north in India, perhaps even into Bangladesh.

Tropical Cyclone-

The southwest monsoon season lasts from June through September and provides India with the vast majority of its annual rainfall. Tropical cyclone activity during the monsoon season is extremely rare because the monsoon is characterized by high wind shear, which makes it difficult for tropical storms to form.

The cyclone’s name, Fani, is Bengali for the hood of a snake. The word cyclone itself is said to be derived from the Greek word meaning “coiling of a snake”, and was coined by British administrator Henry Piddington.

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