Cyclone Amphan intensifies into super cyclone, says IMD
Heavy rainfall is expected to hit coastal Odisha by Monday evening and then hit West Bengal’s coast the following dayUpdated: May 18, 2020 16:17 IST
Extremely severe cyclonic storm Amphan over the west and central parts of Bay of Bengal has intensified into a super cyclone with wind speed above 200 kmph (kilometres per hour) on Monday afternoon, according to India Meteorological Department (IMD). Heavy rainfall is expected to hit coastal Odisha by Monday evening and then hit West Bengal’s coast the following day.
On Wednesday, the super cyclone is expected to marginally lose its strength and cross over to West Bengal and Bangladesh coasts as an extremely severe cyclonic storm with a wind speed of 180-190 kmph. The extremely severe cyclone is expected to cross in between Digha in West Bengal and Hatiya islands in Bangladesh, IMD authorities said on Monday.
Earlier on Monday morning, IMD was expecting it to cross the Indian coasts as a very severe cyclonic storm.
Scientists at IMD said this is the first time that super cyclones have been recorded in two consecutive years — Kyarr (2019) and now Amphan -- and this could be linked to higher sea surface temperatures in both the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal.
This is the first super cyclonic storm in the Bay of Bengal after the 1999 super cyclone, which impacted coastal Odisha and killed over 9,000 people. There was a super cyclone, called Kyarr, in the Arabian Sea last October and was concentrated only in the ocean. However, Kyarr did not claim any human life. Odisha also faced nature’s wrath last May in the form of cyclone Fani.
“All conditions are currently favourable for the development of a super cyclone. The sea surface temperature is in the range of 30 to 31 degrees Celsius, as compared to an expected temperature of 28 degrees Celsius over the region. There is vertical wind shear (change in wind speed with altitude) and sufficient moisture in the air,” said Sunita Devi, a scientist, who is in-charge of cyclones at IMD.
Widespread damage is expected in coastal West Bengal and Odisha, according to IMD’s latest bulletin.
IMD has warned that would be extensive damage to kutcha and even old or damaged pucca constructions, uprooting of communications and power transmission poles, disruption of rail and road links, crops and plantations; large boats, ships can get torn from moorings, etc.