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Saturday, 12 October 2013

CASE STUDY: Cyclone Phailin - India


ANIMATION - How do cyclones and hurricanes form? Find out here

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Friday 11 October 2013

BBC News - Cyclone Phailin, categorised as "very severe" by weather forecasters, is expected to hit Orissa and Andhra Pradesh states on Saturday evening.

The Meteorological Department has predicted the storm will bring winds up to 220 km/h (136mph). This will make it a category 5 storm.

A deadly super-cyclone in 1999 killed more than 10,000 people in Orissa.

Cyclone Phailin is expected to make landfall close to the city of Gopalpur (Orissa state), bringing a storm surge of at least 3m (10ft), with waves of up to 18m. This is likely to cause "extensive damage" to mud houses on the coast. More details here. To find out more about storm surges click here

Source - BBC News
Thomson Reuters - Twelve million people along India's eastern coast face mass disruption as the powerful cyclone bears down on the region in the next 24 hours, the head of the National Disaster Management Authority (NMDA) said on Friday.

Indiaexperiences two cyclone seasons a year, one in May before the annual monsoon rains and another beginning in October. India's second cyclone season is only just beginning. 

Mass evacuations are underway and around 300,000 people living in coastal villages have so far been moved to cyclone shelters and schools built on elevated areas, he said, adding that extensive damage to crops, property and roads was expected.

The Indian army, navy and air force are also on standby and 1,600 members of the National Disaster Response Force have been deployed for rescue and relief operations in districts such as Ganjan, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Srikakulam and Vizianagaram, which lie directly in the path of storm. More here

Saturday 12 October 2013 

  • More than 400,000 people flee to storm shelters
  • Storm verges on becoming a "supercyclone"; could affect 12 million people
  • Operations at key eastern port halted; major gas field seen spared
  • Expected to hit at 15:00 GMT

    Rain and wind lashed India's east coast on Saturday, forcing more than 400,000 people to flee to storm shelters as one of the country's largest cyclones closed in, threatening to cut a wide swathe of devastation through farmland and fishing hamlets.

    Filling most of the Bay of Bengal, Cyclone Phailin was about 200 km (124 miles) offshore by noon on Saturday, satellite images showed, and was expected to hit land by nightfall.

    It was on the verge of becoming a "super cyclone", and was expected to affect 12 million people, officials said.

    "This is one of the largest evacuations undertaken in India," said Shashidhar Reddy, vice chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority, who estimated that more than 440,000 people had been evacuated. More here

    BBC Weather update - VIDEO: Winds gusting up to 145 mph as Cyclone heads towards the coast

    By Saturday afternoon, as many as 500,000 people had been evacuated. More via BBC News here

    To prevent accidents, the authorities cut off power supplies.

    8.15 pm local time - The Cyclone hits

    The Cyclone hit Gopalpur in Orissa State at 8.15 pm local time with wind speeds of around 200 kilometres per hour, marginally less than expected. Tidal waves rose to 3.5 metres. The cyclone is expected to remain "very severe" for up to six hours after hitting the coast. Over 700,000 people were evacuated from coastal areas Indian authorities reported.

    The storm has ripped up trees and road signs, and cut power supplies in some areas. Five deaths were linked to the cyclone according to NDTV - Indian media.

    Officials had earlier said that no-one would be allowed to stay in mud and thatched houses along the coast of Orissaand Andhra Pradesh states although many were reluctant to leave.

    The army is on standby for emergency and relief operations.

    Sunday 13 October 2013 - The morning after

    Mud huts have been washed away as have rice crops, power and communication lines and rail links, with the storm still affecting more than 10 million people up to a hundred kilometres inland.

    The morning after the cyclone hit, cars were seen tumbled over on the roads in areas like Berhampur. Trees and electricity poles were also uprooted due to strong winds. Glass windows of several houses were shattered and roofs of houses were blown away.

    Ganjam district in south Odisha is believed to have been the worst-hit due to the cyclone, with extensive damage to crops and some buildings, government sources have said. 

    The cyclone has destroyed railway signals and high-tension electricity wires and uprooted tracks and railway platforms at various stations, bringing rail services to a halt. The airport in the capital - Bhubaneswar was also closed.

    A selection of images showing the impacts can be viewed here

    The cyclone appeared to have caused "large-scale" destruction in the two states in its path but few deaths. To compare it to killer U.S.storms, Phailin is nearly the size of Hurricane Katrina, which killed 1,200 people in 2005 and caused devastating flooding in New Orleans.

    More details from BBC News here

    Officials are predicting that most damage occurred to agricultural crops. The areas affected are largely agricultural and they were just about to harvest rice for the year after a very healthy monsoon. It looks like most of that would have been destroyed. By Sunday afternoon the death toll had reached 7.

    IN PICTURES - Cyclone Phailin

    Despite the winds subsiding by Sunday afternoon, the likelihood of continued disruption is high as heavy rains threaten to cause widespread flooding. More via BBC News here

    Flooding follows the cyclone

    Workers battle to rescue tens of thousands of people marooned by rising flood waters in Orissa. Flood waters have left nearly 100,000 people stranded in Mayurbhanj and Balasore districts.

    A flood alert has been also sounded in the neighbouring state of Bihar.

    There are fears of heavy rainfall in at least two dozen districts after the weakened storm changed course and moved towards northern parts of Bihar bordering Nepal, officials say.

    Emergency services are struggling to deliver aid as rising water levels sweep away roads.

    Cyclone Phailin menaced India for days, and while the states where the fierce storm made landfall were well prepared for its fury, the surrounding area has been caught by surprise.

    Twelve million people across East Indiahave been affected by heavy rain and flooding in the days following the cyclone.

    Managing the risks: 
    What was done and can be done to reduce the risk when such events occur?

    Sources: BBC News; BBC Weather; Thomson Reuters; Al Jazeera; NDTV; Times of India; Google maps; Mail Online; IBN Live

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