Back Daily News -

Fani Cyclone

Mains-GS-3-Disaster Management, Mains- GS-1-Geography of the world & India

What is Fani ?

1. Fani is a powerful cyclonic storm.

2. Fani is headed towards the Odisha coast, with its landfall forecast near Puri.

3. It is expected to generate storms with wind speeds as high as 200 km per hour.

4. It has the potential to cause widespread damage in Odisha and neighboring states.

Who will be affected?

1. Districts of North coastal Andhra Pradesh (Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam and Vijayanagaram Districts).

2. South coastal and interior Odisha, and some isolated places over North Odisha..

3. Gangetic West Bengal and at isolated places over Sub-Himalayan West Bengal & Sikkim.

4. Arunachal Pradesh and Assam & Meghalaya.

How did India prepare itself to face cyclones previously and now?

1. The eastern coast of India is no stranger to cyclones. On an average, five to six significant cyclonic storms emerge in the Bay of Bengal region every year.

2. The last time such a powerful cyclonic storm had emerged in the Bay of Bengal at this time of the year, in 2008, it had killed more than 1.25 lakh people in Myanmar.

3. That was mainly because of the lack of a sophisticated warning system and enough logistical preparedness to evacuate people.

4. In the last few years, India has managed disasters caused by cyclones like Cyclone Phailin of 2013, which was even stronger than the approaching Fani.

Present Situation

5. Fani has been continuously monitored.

6. Ever since it developed southeast of Sri Lanka about a week ago, warnings have been issued after every few hours to fishermen and people living in coastal regions.

7. A massive emergency preparedness has been mounted.

8. All necessary measures are being taken to complete evacuation of people from areas in cyclone path and maintain adequate quantities of essential supplies such as food, drinking water and medicines etc.

9. Cyclone shelters have been made ready by Odisha to house the evacuees.

10. Adequate preparations are being made to ensure maintenance of essential services such as Power, Telecommunications in the event of damages caused to them.

11. Railways, Civil Aviation and Shipping Ministries were advised to review their preparedness well in time and ensure quick resumption of their services in the event of any disruption.

12. Indian Coast Guard and the Navy have deployed ships and helicopters for relief and rescue operations. Army and Air Force units in the three States have also been put on standby.

13. NDRF has deployed teams in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and in West Bengal.

14. States have issued advisories and are ensuring that fishermen do not venture into the sea.  

15. IMD has been issuing three hourly bulletins with latest forecast to all the concerned States.

16. Ships to undertake Humanitarian Aid Distress Relief (HADR) operation are put to stand by.

17. Naval aircraft are kept ready at Naval Air Stations, INS Dega and INS Rajali to undertake aerial survey of the most affected areas, casualty evacuation and air drop of relief material as required by the State Administration.

Indian Coast Guard Efforts for Cyclone ‘FANI’

a. Indian Coast Guard (ICG) initiated series of pre-emptive measures from first sign of weather disturbance in Bay of Bengal.

b. They initiated series of pre-emptive measures to prevent loss of fishermen lives.

c. Indian Coast Guard Remote Operating Stations located in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal are issuing Security/ Safety messages on radio in Vernacular languages.

d. Safety of Fishing Boats- ICG coordinated with Fisheries Authorities of the respective states and confirmed that no fishing boats are presently operating at sea.

e. Special Community Interaction programmes were conducted for fishermen and coastal populace for undertaking safety measures.

Which are the suitable conditions for Cyclones to develop?

1. Seasons of Cyclone

a. The months of April and May before the start of the monsoon, and then October to December immediately after the end of the monsoon, are the prime seasons for tropical cyclones.

b. Cyclones emerging in April-May usually are much weaker than those during October-December.

c. There have been very few instances of a “severe cyclone” forming in the Bay of Bengal region in April.

d. Most of the cyclones emerging in April-May all swerved northeast to hit Bangladesh, Myanmar or other countries in the southeast Asian region.

e. A big difference between the strengths of cyclones in April-May and October-December is that the former originates in situ in the Bay of Bengal itself, barely a few hundred kilometres from the landmass.

f. April-May is not the season for typhoons in the west Pacific Ocean.

g. Most of the typhoons in west Pacific in northern hemisphere form between June and November.

h. That is why almost all the cyclones in the Bay of Bengal in April-May period are in situ systems.

i. On the other hand, cyclones in October-December are usually remnants of cyclonic systems that emerge in the Pacific Ocean

j. They manage to come to the Bay of Bengal, considerably weakened after crossing the southeast Asian landmass near the South China Sea.

k. These systems already have some energy and gather momentum as they traverse over the Bay of Bengal.

2. Temperature of Oceans

a. Cyclones are formed over slightly warm ocean waters.

b. The temperature of the top layer of the sea, up to a depth of about 60 metres, need to be at least 28°C to support the formation of a cyclone.

c. This is the reason why April-May and October-December periods are conducive for cyclones.

3. Wind direction

a. The low level of air above the waters needs to have an ‘anticlockwise’ rotation in the northern hemisphere (clockwise in the southern hemisphere).

b. During these periods, there is a zone in the Bay of Bengal region called the inter-tropical convergence zone that shifts with seasons whose southern boundary experiences winds from west to east.

c. While in the northern boundary has winds flowing east to west. This induces the anticlockwise rotation of air. Once formed, cyclones in this area usually move northwest.

4. Moisture/ Time Spent in sea

a. As cyclone travels over the sea, it gathers more moist air from the warm sea which adds to its heft.

b. The more time cyclones or hurricanes and typhoons (US and Japan ) spend over the seas, the stronger they become.

c. Hurricanes around the US, which originate in the vast open Pacific Ocean, are usually much stronger than the tropical cyclones in the Bay of Bengal, a relatively narrow and enclosed region.

d. The cyclones originating in Bay of Bengal, after hitting the landmass, decay rapidly due to friction and absence of moisture.

Why is Fani considered as different and unusual?

1. Fani is different mainly on account of its strength, and the route it has taken. Fani is an extremely severe cyclone.

2. Tropical cyclones in the Bay of Bengal are graded according to maximum wind speeds at their center.

a. Depressions 30 to 60 km per hour

b. Cyclonic storms 61 to 88 kph

c. Severe cyclonic storms 89 to 117 kph

d. Very severe cyclonic storms 118 to 166 kph.

e. Extremely severe cyclonic storms 167 to 221 kph

f. Super cyclones - 222 kph or higher.

3. Fani is thus unusual mainly because of the place it originated which is very close to the Equator and the long route it has taken to reach the landmass.

4. The in situ cyclonic systems in the Bay of Bengal usually originate around latitude 10°, in line with Chennai or Thiruvananthapuram.

4. Fani, on the other hand, originated quite close to the Equator, around latitude 2°, well below the Sri Lankan landmass.

5. The forecast landfall on the Odisha coast is at a latitude of almost 20°.

6. It has traversed a long way on the sea, thus gaining strength that is unusual for cyclones originating in the Bay of Bengal in this season.

7. It was initially headed northwestwards, towards the Tamil Nadu coast, but changed course midway, and swerved northeast away from the coastline to reach Odisha. That has given it even more time on the sea.

8. If it had remained on its original course, and made landfall over the Tamil Nadu coastline, Fani would only have been a normal cyclone, not the extremely severe cyclone it has now become.

9. The recurve it has taken gave it more time over the sea and has ensured that it has gathered unusual strength.

Source: Indian Express, PIB