Cyclone Watch Hudhud:  An evaluation

New Delhi, 20 October 2014: As predicted, the very severe cyclonic storm (VSCS) Hudhud made landfall a little before noon on October 12, 2014 , crossing into Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. However, the wind speed that lashed India’s eastern coastline was above the initial predicted 130-140 kmph gusting to 155 kmph. At landfall, the winds averaged 195 kmph, gusting to over 200 kmph, which means the intensity of Hudhud was greater than expected.
Evacuation operations ensured that over one and a half lakh residents in northern Andhra Pradesh and southern Odisha were moved out of vulnerable areas along the coast, keeping casualties to the minimum. Power was switched off from October 11 midnight to avoid deaths due to electrocution. Learning from the experience of VSCS Phailin that struck Odisha in 2013, care was taken to deal with storm surges that are the major cause of flooding following a cyclone. However, standing crops on the verge of harvest suffered in many parts of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.

Since the cyclone struck an urban area, there was little damage to homes. But, the damage to Visakhapatnam airport, port and the city infrastructure was so high that normalcy is far from being restored even several days after the cyclone has passed. The damage, according to the government of Andhra Pradesh, is estimated at around a whopping Rs 10,000 crore. VSCS Hudhud moved in a west-northwest direction following its cyclogenesis in the northern Indian ocean, and followed a track similar to Phailin, though in a more southerly direction, making landfall in Visakhapatnam. Besides Visakhapatnam, the most affected districts were Srikakulam, Vizianagram, Ganjam and Gopalpur.

Although the government’s aim of achieving zero casualty fell short, with some 50 deaths reported due to cyclone-related causes, Dr M Mohapatra Head, Cyclone Warning Division of the India Meteorological Department ( IMD) and Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre (RSMC) looks upon the IMD’s performance as successful. “Our path forecast is on par with that of Japan, although we are still behind the US in terms of error. For the 24 hour forecast, we are 25 km short of the US. For the 72 hour forecast, we lag behind by 50 km. But then, the National Hurricane Centre of the US regularly makes use of aircraft, which we do not do.” (Incidentally, Japan does not make use of aircraft on a regular basis for weather forecasts). Elaborating on the other aspects of Cyclone Hudhud, Dr Mohapatra says, “ The storm surge was in line with our forecast. We had predicted a 1-2 m surge, and the actual surge was 1.4 m above the astronomical tide level. Of course, we had to revise the prediction of wind speed. But remember, the prediction was done 5 days before actual landall. The accuracy, you must understand, improves as we move near landfall. Wind speed relates to the intensity of the cyclone. Where predicting the intensity of a cyclonic storm is concerned, the level of inaccuracy is the same worldwide. So, in all, it was not an inaccurate forecast.”

Commenting on the deaths that were caused due to secondary causes related to the cyclone, Dr Mohapatra felt there was a dire need to create awareness among the masses. Dr Mohapatra certainly has a point there. The deaths that have occurred are due to landslides, collapsing of telephone poles and uprooted trees that fell on people.

The havoc was mostly wrought by the tail of the cyclone. The eye of the cyclone makes landfall with accompanying rain, and strong gale winds. A lull, and then another round of stormy weather follow when the tail of the cyclone passes over. Unfortunately, despite repeated reminders urging people to stay indoors, many ventured out immediately after the eye had passed over the city, thus preparing ground for casualties. Perhaps, greater awareness might be called for to achieve the zero-casualty mark.

Rina Mukherji: rina_mukherji@yahoo.com

View All


 
In conversation with...

Ajit Tyagi very small

Mandatory AQI and complimentary prediction systems needed- Ajit Tyagi 

  Dr Nag Research in social science should become multidisciplinary - Prithvish Nag   shailesh n box MoES to focus on discovery, improved observations- Shailesh Nayak
View All

 

advertisement 1b

News

SCIENCE AND TECH
science Russian rocket with space freighter launched (Moscow, Oct 29)
OPPO unveils thinnest smartphone and much awaited N3 (Singapore, Oct 29)
NASA cargo spacecraft explodes minutes after launch (Washington, Oct 29)
NASA tool to identify drought-resilient plants (Washington, Oct 28)
NASA identifies impact of cosmic chaos on stars' birth (Washington, Oct 28)
China's Xiaomi to take up its phones' security issue (New Delhi, Oct 27)
Astronomers produce first images of exploding stellar fireball (Washington, Oct 27)
NASA finds ice cloud on Saturn's moon Titan (Washington, Oct 25)
NASA captures largest sunspot in two decades (Washington, Oct 25)
View All - National / International
POLLUTION
pollution Paris pushes half the cars off roads to cut pollution (Paris, March 16)
France offers free weekend transport to ease air pollution (Paris, March 15)
Agra's leather shoe units told to check pollution (Agra, Feb 20)
Gulf of Mexico oil spill may give tunas heart attacks (Washington, Feb 16)
Three oil spills in two weeks foul Singapore’s waters (Singapore, Feb 11)
SC notice to centre, four states on increasing air pollution in NCR (New Delhi, Feb 10)
Taj city residents complain of contaminated water supply (Agra, Feb 3)
Coal-using petha units shut down
(Agra, Feb 1)
 View All - National / International
LIFE ON EARTH
life-on-earth Chimpanzees plan their breakfast time (London, Oct 29)
Nagaland to protect world's longest-distance migratory falcons (Kohima, Oct 27)
New spine disease clue found in mummies (London, Oct 20)
Warming climate restructuring bird population (Washington, Oct 18)
Virus threat may make amphibians disappear (London, Oct 17)
Breath test enough to reveal disease in dolphins (New York, Oct 16)
Ancient kangaroos could not hop, they walked (Washington, Oct 16)
How the nose cooled dinosaur brains (New York, Oct 15)
Paternal line investigation unravels journey of the red fox (New York, Oct 8)
Competing suitors affect fertility of female chimps (Washington, Oct 8)
View All - National / International
HEALTH
health High milk intake may lead to early death (London, Oct 29)
High powered MRI scans identify language centres in brain (Vienna, Oct 29)
Sad music evokes positive emotions (London, Oct 29)
Text messages can help fight malaria (New York, Oct 29)
Hair disorder could signal dental decay (Washington, Oct 28)
Strict social hosts help curb underage drinking (New York, Oct 28)
Cocoa may reverse memory decline (New York, Oct 27)
'Newly' donated blood better for heart surgery (Toronto, Oct 27)
Mental illness doubles cardiac, stroke risks (Toronto, Oct 27)
Positive gossip fosters self-reflection and growth (London, Oct 25)
In tech-era, parent-child relationship blooms on multiple channels (New York, Oct 25)
View All - National / International
DISASTER
weather German woman searches for husband missing in Kashmir floods (New Delhi, Sep 10)
Thousands evacuated as Odisha river breaches embankment (Bhubaneswar, July 22)
13 killed as storm hits Uttar Pradesh (Lucknow, May 26)
Huge quakes may rock San Francisco: Study (Washington, May 20)
Six injured in Kudankulam N-plant accident (Chennai, May 14)
Soon, a method to predict volcanic eruption (London, May 5)
Dust storm kills 18 in Uttar Pradesh (Lucknow, April 18)
Nearly 600 stranded tourists rescued in Sikkim (Kolkata, Feb 17)
'Union Carbide had direct role in designing, building Bhopal plant' (New York, Feb 6)
Avalanche warning issued in Kashmir Valley (Srinagar, Feb 3)
View All - National / International
ENVIRONMENT
wildlife How culture affects physiology (New York, Oct 29)
Future-focused women fight climate change better (Washington, Oct 28)
Plan to protect Great Barrier Reef inadequate: Scientists (Canberra, Oct 28)
Boom in dam construction threatens freshwater biodiversity (London, Oct 24)
Ganga cleaning improves aquatic life (Haridwar, Oct 23)
'A sunny day could trigger a panic attack' (London, Oct 21)
'Ham radio can counter dark side of social networking' (Kolkata, Oct 21)
New Zealand fault hole revealing secrets of earth's crust (Wellington, Oct 20)
Antarctic sea ice at record high (New York, Oct 8)
Air pollution leading to swelling rivers (London, Oct 6)
View All - National / International
EXTREME EVENT
Rain, erratic power supply affect Metro services (New Delhi, May 30)


Heat wave likely to hit Bengal's fish, agriculture harvest (Kolkata, May 21)
Indian seismologist warned about Mexico quake two months ago (Bangalore, April 20)
Air, surface links to Kashmir Valley restored (Srinagar, March 13
28 dead as rain, hailstorms lash Maharashtra (Mumbai, March 12)
Unseasonal snowfall disrupts life in Kashmir Valley (Srinagar, March 11)
Avalanche warning issued in Kashmir (Jammu, March 10)
75 rescued after avalanche hits north Kashmir (Srinagar, March 4)
Shimla, Manali get more snow (Shimla, March 1)
Delhi records February's wettest day (New Delhi, Feb 28)
 View All - National International
ENERGY
Kudankulam turbine to run with parts from another unit (Chennai, Oct 28)
Hydrogen fuel cell cars to rule the roost in future (London, Oct 22)
Kundankulam n-plant out of action due to turbine problem (Chennai, Oct 20)
An electric generator that is bendable, stretchable (New York, Oct 16)
Global shift to renewable energy is feasible (London, Oct 7)
First rechargeable solar battery (New York, Oct 4)
Scientists harvest hydrogen fuel from Sun (London, Sep 26)
Liquid metal batteries to herald new future (Washington, Sep 23)
Sweat to power small electronic devices soon (New York, Aug 13)
Boeing to make jet fuel using tobacco (New York, Aug 9)
 View All - National / International

 

GEOGRAPHY AND YOU

5 GnY Cover 2014 Front

 

BHUGOL AUR AAP

5 Bhugol Cover 2014

 

BOOKS

CCI book

online magazine1

photo-galleryphoto-galleryphoto-galleryphoto-gallery