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Cyclone Fani

About

  • Cyclone Fani developed near the Equator and this allowed it to gather massive strength and moisture as it could travel a long distance over the sea.
  • Timing and strength are two factors that make Cyclone Fani different from most other tropical cyclones in this time of the year.
  • It has been classified as an extremely severe cyclone (ESC), is the 10th such cyclone to hit India in May in past 52 years
  • Generally, extremely severe cyclones hit India’s east coast in the post-monsoon season (October-December)
  • Cyclone Fani is the second storm forming in April and crossing the mainland. The last time it happened was Cyclone Nargis that devastated Myanmar in 2008.

Storm Surge

  • When a cyclone is formed over the sea, it generates strong winds along it. These winds have the potential to generate storm surges. A storm surge is an abnormal rise in the sea level due to a storm (cyclone, hurricane etc).
  • A storm surge becomes dangerous because it has the potential to flood low-lying areas along the coast. It can drown humans and animals, destroy infrastructure and damage environment by eroding beaches, flooding vegetation, among others.

DO YOU KNOW?

  • The Indian subcontinent experiences cyclones from two basins: the Bay of Bengal basin and the Arabian Sea basin.
  • Of the two, more cyclones are generated in the Bay of Bengal and cyclones here have also been more severe than the one generated over the Arabian Sea.
  • One of the reasons why tropical cyclones are more prone to the Bay of Bengal is that its surface temperature is more than that of the Arabian Sea.
  • Tropical cyclones generally need a temperature of around 28 degrees Celsius. The Bay of Bengal is more conducive to this than the Arabian Sea.
  • Greater frequency of Bay of Bengal cyclones and more strength to them come from a foreign source as well. Neighbouring Pacific Ocean seas are more prone to cyclones. Typhoons originating in near Philippines, China, Thailand and Malaysia enter the Andaman Sea of Bay of Bengal after they weaken in their native regions.
  • Most of the cyclones in the Arabian Sea are local. They collapse a little after making landfall as there is no back-up supply. Recent Ockhi cyclone was one of the exceptions that remained strong for some time even after hitting Maharashtra and Gujarat coasts.
  • Also, the hills along the eastern coasts are not high enough to stop cyclones making much inroad into the coastal states. The Western Ghats run almost the entire distance of the western coasts preventing the cyclonic storms to go in the hinterland.
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