This post is a courtesy of mafr’s tip. Terms: a ‘lakh’ is equal to approximately 100,000; ‘Phailin’ means ‘sapphire’. Will meteorologists and government officials link it to climate change?
From Fox News:
The Indian Metrological Department warned Cyclone Phailin was expected to remain a “very severe cyclonic storm,” with winds of up to 130 mph into Sunday before weakening as it moves inland.
The U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii forecast maximum sustained winds of 167 miles per hour with gusts up to 196 miles per hour.
Ryan Maue, a meteorologist at Weather Bell, a private U.S. weather firm, said even in the best-case scenario there will be a storm surge of 20-30 feet.
A storm surge — the giant wall of water that that a cyclone blasts ashore — is the big killer in these storms, even more than winds.
Satellite images showed the cyclone filling nearly the entire Bay of Bengal, an area larger than France.
“If it’s not a record it’s really, really close,” University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy told The Associated Press. “You really don’t get storms stronger than this anywhere in the world ever. This is the top of the barrel.”
To compare to killer U.S. storms, McNoldy said Phailin is near the size of 2005′s Hurricane Katrina, which killed 1,200 people and caused devastating flooding in New Orleans, but Phailin also has the wind power of 1992′s Hurricane Andrew, which had 165 mph winds at landfall in Miami.
Reuters has early coverage here:
‘Tens of thousands fled their homes in coastal areas of eastern India and moved to shelters on Friday, bracing for the fiercest cyclone to threaten the country since a devastating storm killed 10,000 people 14 years ago.
‘The images showed the storm covering an area roughly half the size of India. Some forecasters likened its size and intensity to that of hurricane Katrina, which devastated the U.S. Gulf coast and New Orleans in 2005.
Some 260,000 people were moved to safer ground and more were expected to be evacuated by the end of the day, authorities in the two states said. Not everybody was willing to leave their homes and belongings, and some villagers on the palm-fringed Andhra Pradesh coast said they had not been told to evacuate.
“Of course I’m scared, but where will I move with my family?” asked Kuramayya, 38, a fisherman from the village of Bandharuvanipeta, close to where the hurricane is expected to make to landfall, while 3.5-metre (12-foot waves) crashed behind him. “We can’t leave our boats behind.“
Many coastal residents live in thatched huts. Just imagine that…
From USA Today:
Cyclones form in the Indian Ocean, and are the same type of storm as a hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean and a typhoon in the western Pacific. They are all known by the umbrella term “tropical cyclones.”
Cyclones that form in the Bay of Bengal can be among the deadliest natural catastrophes in the world. Twenty-six of the thirty-five deadliest tropical cyclones in world history have been Bay of Bengal storms, according to Masters.
In fact, during the past two centuries, 42% of Earth’s deaths from tropical cyclones have occurred in Bangladesh, and 27% have occurred in India, Masters reports.
A single cyclone that hit Bangeldesh in 1970 killed between 300,000 and 500,000 people.
This is Dr. Jeff Masters’ blog at wunderground.com . Last updated yesterday, but the satellite imagery and radar is telling. It’s enormous.
NOAA and NASA weather are…closed for business.
It’s dark now in Odisha, and much of the power is out. Morning will tell more of the tale. Wing the folks there some good thoughts and prayers if you’ve got them. They expect a lot of India’s rice crop to be decimated, among other things.