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As Gaja hurtles towards Tamil Nadu coast, a look at earlier cyclones

The Cyclone storm ‘Gaja’ over the Bay of Bengal, which is expected to intensify in the next 24 hours, is moving towards coastal Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. It is likely to make a landfall between Nagapattinam and Chennai on November 15.

india Updated: Nov 13, 2018 11:21 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Gaja,cyclonic storm,andhra pradesh
The Cyclone storm ‘Gaja’ over the Bay of Bengal, which is expected to intensify in the next 24 hours, is moving towards coastal Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.(AFP)

The Cyclone storm ‘Gaja’ over the Bay of Bengal, which is expected to intensify in the next 24 hours, is moving towards coastal Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

It is likely to make a landfall between Nagapattinam and Chennai on November 15.

Gaja will be the second cyclone to hit the coastal area in a month after Cyclone Titli wreaked havoc in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh on October 11, killing a total of 70 people.

The severe cyclonic storm, with wind speeds of 175 km per hour, uprooted thousands of electricity and telecommunication poles, devastated coconut and cashew orchards, and flattened standing crops.

Here’s a look at earlier cyclones in India and their impact:

Ockhi, 2017

Cyclone Ockhi, which formed as a depression over southwest Bay of Bengal on November 29, 2017, intensified into a cyclone off the Kanyakumari coast in Tamil Nadu on November 30 and travelled up to the Gujarat coast before it dissipated on December 6 after weakening into a low pressure area.

Ockhi is the first severe cyclonic storm in almost 40 years to have travelled about 2,400 kilometres from the Bay of Bengal to as far as the Gujarat coast, a senior Met Department official had said.

Toll

The cyclone killed 365 people, according to information shared by the ministry of home affairs in Parliament.

Phailin, 2013

Phailin was the second-strongest tropical cyclone ever to make landfall in India, behind only the 1999 Odisha cyclone. The system started off on October 4, 2013 within the Gulf of Thailand, to the west of Phnom Penh in Cambodia. Over the next few days, it moved westwards and emerged into the Andaman Sea.

During the next day Phailin intensified rapidly and became a very severe cyclonic storm on October 10, equivalent to a category 1.

On October 11, the system became equivalent to a category 5 hurricane before it started to weaken during the next day as it approached Odisha. It made landfall later that day, near Gopalpur in Odisha coast at around 9.30 PM and subsequently weakened.

Biggest evacuation

The cyclone prompted India’s biggest evacuation in 23 years with more than 550,000 people moved up from the coastline in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh to safer places. Most of the evacuated people were sheltered in 500 specially-built cyclone camps in the two states.

Toll

Massive evacuation kept the toll down. Around 30 people died in the cyclone

Odisha cyclone, 1999

The 1999 Odisha cyclone, also known as Cyclone 05B, and Paradip cyclone, was the strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded in the North Indian Ocean.

It was also the deadliest tropical cyclone in the Indian Ocean since the 1991 Bangladesh cyclone, and deadliest Indian storm since 1971.

The Category Five storm made landfall just weeks after a category 4 storm hit the same general area. It was a tropical depression formed over the Malay Peninsula on October 25.

It moved to the northwest and became a tropical storm on October 26. It continued to strengthen into a cyclone on October 27. On October 28, it became a severe cyclone with a peak of 160 mph (260 km/h) winds.

It hit India the next day as a 155 mph (250 km/h) cyclone.

Toll

It caused the deaths of about 10,000 people, and extreme damage in its path of destruction.

First Published: Nov 12, 2018 23:13 IST