Cyclone Fani, one of the biggest storms in years to make landfall in India, slammed the city of Puri in Odisha with winds raging up to 200 kmph on Friday. Though, in terms of maximum windspeed, Fani is only the seventh highest among cyclones to have originated from the Northern Indian Ocean since the 2000s, very rarely do such cyclones which were formed in the month of April over the Bay of Bengal go on to make landfall in India. This makes Fani a unique case of a cyclone that originated in April.
The following image shows the path of all severe cyclones ( maximum wind speed of >47 knots) to have originated in the month of April over the Bay of Bengal between 1891 and 2017.
As can been seen from the image, only once before, April 1966 to be precise, did such a severe cyclone hit the Indian mainland.
April is an unusual month for a cyclone in India. Of the 1,528 recorded depressions/cyclonic storms/severe cyclones over the North Indian Ocean since 1891, only 45 (3%) occurred in the month of April. Thats the fifth least among all months after July, February, March and January.
Table shows depressions (maximum wind speed between 17 and 33 knots) / cyclonic storms (between 34 and 47 knots) / severe cyclones (>47 knots) occurred between 1891 and 2019 over the North Indian Ocean.
Observations from the table
1. Depressions (those which does not get converted to bigger cyclones) are lowest at the start of a year and gradually increase and peak at August before dropping again in number terms.
2. But, cyclonic storms and severe cyclones follow a slightly different pattern. Their numbers first peak in May and then dip only to peak again in October-November.
Interestingly, the probability of a depression getting converted into a Cyclonic Storm/ Severe Cyclone is very high in April. 44% of all storms in April were Severe Cyclones, a number that is less only than the number for the month of May (48%).
Table shows the share of recorded depressions/cyclonic storms/severe cyclones in various months between 1891 and 2019
How big is Fani?
The Indian Meteorological Department had issued a warning that the Cyclone Fani will reach the Odisha coast on Friday afternoon with maximum speed of 170-180 kmph going up to 200 kmph or 108 knots. How does this maximum speed compares to other cyclones since 2000 in the North Indian Ocean?
In the 178 depressions/cyclonic storms/severe cyclones recorded since 2000, Fani’s Maximum Sustained Surface Wind of 108 knots was the seventh highest.
When only the month of April is considered, Fani’s maximum speed is the highest recorded since the 2000s, closely followed by Cyclone Mala which was formed over Bay of Bengal and proceeded to make landfall in Myanmar in 2006. Table shows the top 25 cyclones in terms of maximum wind speeds recorded since 2000.
It does not necessarily mean that higher the wind speed, the damage would be higher. Some of the cyclones listed never made landfall in India or had weakened before the event.
India tests exo-atmospheric ballistic missile interception
India on Saturday successfully test-fired its interceptor missile off the Odisha coast.The interceptor was launched from Abdul Kalam Island (Wheeler Island) of ITR at about 7.45 am.
India on Saturday successfully test-fired its interceptor missile off the Odisha coast.
The interceptor was launched from Abdul Kalam Island (Wheeler Island) of ITR at about 7.45 am.
With this, India has achieved a significant milestone in the direction of developing a two-layered Ballistic Missile Defence system.
This mission, termed as “PDV mission” is “for engaging the targets in the exo-atmosphere region at an altitude above 50 km of earth’s atmosphere”, said a Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) official.
“Both, the PDV interceptor and the two stage target missile, were successfully engaged,” he said.
The target was developed for mimicking a hostile Ballistic Missile approaching from more than 2,000 km away and was launched from a ship anchored in the Bay of Bengal.
In an automated operation, radar-based detection and tracking system detected and tracked the enemy’s ballistic missile.
The computer network with the help of data received from radars predicted the trajectory of the incoming Ballistic Missile.
PDV, that was kept fully ready, took off once the computer system gave the necessary command for lift-off. The Interceptor guided by high accuracy Inertial Navigation System (INS) supported by a Redundant Micro Navigation System moved towards the estimated point of the interception.
Once the missile crossed the atmosphere, the Heat Shield ejected and the IR Seeker dome opened to look at the Target location as designated by the Mission Computer.
The interceptor is based on the nuclear-capable Prithvi Missile.
With the help of Inertial Guidance and IR Seeker the missile moved for the interception. All events were monitored in real-time by the Telemetry/Range Stations, at various other locations.
No trace of missing IAF AN-32 plane as yet; Defence Minister Parrikar undertakes aerial survey
Search operations continued on Saturday for an Indian Air Force plane that went missing in the Bay of Bengal on Friday.
The IAF AN-32 “courier flight” with 29 people on board was flying from the Tambaram air base near Chennai to Port Blair in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands when it vanished from radar at 9.12 am.
The plane was 280 kilometres east of Chennai when it fell off the radar.
As per reports, more than 12 Navy and Coast Guard ships carried on the search operation through the night in their respective search areas.
A P8I, one CGDO and a C130 have also been deployed in the area for the search operations, ANI reported.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar also arrived in Chennai today to monitor the search operations for the missing aircraft.
Upon his arrival, he boarded an aircraft from Tambaram for an aerial survey of the search operations.
“All efforts are being made to trace the missing plane and the service personnel on board,” Parrikar had said yesterday.
Among the 29 people on board the transport aircraft were six crew members and eight civilians (family members of IAF personnel). Others on board included 11 IAF personnel, one Navy and two Army soldiers and a coast guard member, NDTV reported.
It is suspected that the plane plunged rapidly from an altitude of 23,000 feet.
The last call from the pilots was received around 16 minutes after take-off. The pilots had then said, “everything is normal”.
A naval submarine, which is part of the search team, will be looking to track the signal from the emergency beacon locator on the aircraft which gets activated in case of a crash.
The Indian Air Force currently has more than 100 Russian-made AN-32s in service.
Indo-Myanmar Coordinated Patrol (IMCOR) and Signing of Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)
As part of the ongoing India-Myanmar defence relations, Navies of the two countries have conducted Coordinated Patrols along the Maritime boundary since 2013. Taking it forward, the Fourth Edition of the India-Myanmar Coordinated Patrol (IMCOR) was successfully undertaken from February 13 to 16, 2016 along the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) in the Andaman Sea. Indian Navy Ships Saryu and Bitra along with Union of Myanmar Ships Aung Zeya and FAC 563 participated in the 4th IMCOR. Cmde Girish Garg, Naval Component Commander from the Tri-Service HQs in Port Blair was embarked onboard INS Saryu.
During the Closing Ceremony of 4th IMCOR, the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for IMCOR was also signed between Indian Navy and Myanmar Navy. Cmde Atul Anand VSM from Indian Navy and Cmde Aung Zaw Hlaing from Myanmar Navy signed the document in the presence of H.E Gautam Mukhopadhaya, the Ambassador of India to Myanmar. This is only the third country with which India has signed a formal agreement for maritime coordinated patrols and reflects growing naval interaction between India and Myanmar. The signing of the SOP is a significant achievement and will facilitate smooth conduct of coordinated patrols between two friendly neighbours that share a long maritime boundary in the strategically significant Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal.
Chennai Flood: next 48 hours very crucial, says IMD
People being rescued from flooded homes in Kotturpuram, Chennai, on Wednesday. Photo: R. Ragu
More rains expected in the next week due to presence of a low pressure in Bay of Bengal, says MeT Department
As heavy rains continue to lash Chennai on Wednesday, several parts of the city have come to a standstill. Electricity has been turned off in some areas as a precautionary measure. A holiday has been declared for all schools and colleges. Telephone services taken a hit as several areas were cut-off due to water-logging.
The weather office in Chennai has predicted more rains in Tamil Nadu over the next 24 hours due to presence of a low pressure in Bay of Bengal. “Due to low pressure rainfall will continue in next 24 hours in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry with some places receiving heavy to very heavy rainfall,” said Regional Meteorological Department Director, S.R. Ramanan.
“Cuddalore, Coimbatore, Nilgiris districts may witness very heavy rainfall. For Chennai and its surroundings it may be cloudy with intermittent rainfall over the next 24 hours,” he said. More
Chennai airport to remain shut till December 6: AAI – PTI
Rains will continue to batter Tamil Nadu for the next seven days and the next 48 hours are “very crucial”, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said. IMD Director General Laxman Singh Rathore attributed the heavy rains to a “trough of low” over Southwest Bay of Bengal off Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka coast which will continue to bring rains over the next three days. Thereafter, the state will see an anti-cyclone activity which will be associated with “heavy rains” at some places. “The phenomenon will continue for the next seven days, but the next 48 hours are very crucial. Neighbouring states will also see rainfall activity,” Rathore said. — PTI
NDRF,which already has 10 teams in TN, has been asked to double its strength by evening, reports Vijaita Singh. PTI adds: The NDRF is rushing about 600 personnel and over 40 inflatable boats to be deployed in relief and rescue operations. As the Chennai airport and nearby landing facilities are shut down, 15 teams airlifted from Bhubaneswar and Delhi by the IAF, will be landing at the ‘INS Rajali’ airbase in Arakkonam, about 60 km west of Chennai, said National Disaster Response Force chief O.P. Singh
Four trains between TN, Kerala cancelled: Southern Railways today cancelled at least four trains between the Tamil Nadu state capital and Kerala. The Chennai Egmore-Thiruvananthapuram Ananthapuri Express and Chennai Egmore-Guruvayoor Express and their pairing trains have been cancelled, the railways said in a release here.
Hyundai, Ford, Renault suspend ops in Chennai due to floods: Auto majors Hyundai, Ford and Renault have temporarily suspended operations at their plants in Chennai due to floods. – PTI
Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik spoke to TN CM Jayalalithaa, conveying his concern over torrential & recurring rains in TN
As many as 3,500 people, including 1,500 passengers, were stranded on Wednesday morning at the Chennai international airport, which has been closed for operations till Thursday morning following flooding of the runway. Read more:
Due to Chennai floods, there will be no charges on BSNL bills for one week in Chennai starting today: Ravi Shankar Prasad, Telecom Minister to ANI.
Meeting on Chennai floods begins in Parliament, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Manohar Parrikar, Nirmala Sitharaman in attendance.
Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) says they have already released Rs. 509 crore from state disaster relief fund to TN govt.
Chennai suburban areas like Tambaram and Chembarambakkam received the highest rainfall of 49 cms and 47 cms respectively, said Regional MeT Depatment head S.R. Ramanan
Naval warship INS Airavat wth 6 integral boats, 20 divers and relief material off to Chennai from Vishakapattinam. It is expected to reach tomorrow.
Chennai receives 29 cms of rain for 24-hr period ending 8.30 a.m on Wednesday. Only 0.5 mm so far, says Met department’s official.
Trinamool Congress’ Sudeip Bandhyopadhyaya asks for more funds for TN floods in Lok Sabha.
AIADMK MP in the Lok Sabha has asked TN floods to be treated as a national calamity.
The Government has decided to send two C-17 aircrafts, one from Delhi and the other from Bhubhaneshwar. In all 12 teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) will be sent to Tamil Nadu by these aircrafts.
The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) headed by Cabinet Secretary P.K. Mishra held a meeting on Wednesday to take stock of the flood situation in Tamil Nadu and adjoining areas of Andhra Pradesh. The meeting was being attended by senior Home Ministry officials as well.
Dramatic scenes unfolded on the arterial Kotturpuram bridge near Adyar as the Adyar river has started overflowing. Tamil Nadu Housing Board Colony, with over 3,000 residents, is completely inundated. A rescue team is in action, strongly battling the currents of the river. The Kotturpuram bridge has beeen shut as water has entered on the bridge. Earlier, water from Chembarambakkam reservoir was discharged at the rate of 20,000 cubic feet per second into the Adyar river.
Tamil Nadu Housing Board colony in Kotturpuram, Chennai on Wednesday.
The Chennai Collector issued a flood warning, asking people living along the river to move to safer places.
As water levels at Chennai airport in Meenambakkam, a low-lying area, started increasing, leading to flooding on the runway. Operations at the Chennai airport have been closed for now. According to ANI, the Chennai airport will be closed till 6 a.m. on Thursday.
Saidapet bridge has also been closed as it was it is completely flooded. Roads were flooded and essential services, including trains and buses, were suspended in most locations.
According the MeT director, more rains are expected in the next 24 hours.
While the Army and Air Force were involved in rescue work and distribution of food packets at suburban Tambaram and Oorapakkam, ships of the Navy and Coast Guard were on standby, officials said.
Expert Naval divers and inflatable boats were deployed at Adyar and Kotturpuram areas to help marooned citizens.
Alok Bhatnagar, Naval officer in charge, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, said ships, INS Airawat and other amphibian vessels, would arrive in Chennai tonight. The Navy was also ready with medical supplies, he said.
Seven boats had already been deployed for rescue work, while shelters were ready to accommodate 200 people.
Tree fall, Waterlogging
Fire & Rescue
Boats had to be called out once again to rescue residents caught in their workplaces and homes, after floodwaters entered the buildings. Water release from the reservoirs and the breaching of over 60 tanks in south Chennai contributed to the extensive damage in the city.
Satellite image recorded by INSAT 3D at 1800 hours on Wednesday.
Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said senior IAS officers were sent to the affected districts to supervise relief works. Eight teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Arakkonam, have been sent out for rescue operations.
Modi speaks to CM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted late night that he had spoken to Ms. Jayalalithaa and assured her of all assistance during this “unfortunate hour.”
Heavier rain has been predicted for the areas over the next four days. The Tamil Nadu government also requisitioned the Army’s help for rescue and relief.