Satellite view of Cyclone Amphan on May 19, 2020. (Weathernerds.org)
Cyclone Amphan threatens massive devastation Wednesday when it is to make landfall along the India-Bangladesh border as the region continues to battle the coronavirus.
Formed over the Bay of Bengal, the super cyclone is equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane with wind speeds as high as 257 kph (160 mph) and gusts near 321 kph (200 mph).
The storm is expected to weaken to a Category 1 or 2 before reaching land, but Cyclone Amphan still has potential to cause severe damage to the densely populated and poverty-stricken regions with unstable infrastructure.
The Bay of Bengal shores are prone to natural disasters similar to Cyclone Amphan, yet none of these bordering countries have had to combat a combination of a global pandemic and an incoming violent storm.
Odisha, one of the Indian states in Amphan’s path, has begun preparations to evacuate the 1.1 million individuals who live in high-risk areas. According to The Guardian, 550 cyclone shelters have been readied, along with 7,000 concrete buildings set aside to shelter evacuees.
The Cox’s Bazar district of Bangladesh also is anticipating heavy rains from Amphan. Cox’s Bazar is home to the world’s largest refugee camp, where Rohingya refugees escaped violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
The Rohingya refugee camp, with a population of nearly 1 million, recently confirmed its first coronavirus case making the refugees even more vulnerable to the threatening storm.
With the diagnosis, the camp immediately isolated two refugees, deployed investigative teams, and increased prevention and testing methods. However, health experts have been cautioning camps about the possibility of a rapidly spreading virus for more than two years.
“Our houses are already in bad shape and if heavy storm hit, we will be in despair with heavy rain and landslides,” Aung Myaing, a grocery and general store owner in Kutuplong Camp in Cox’s Bazaar, told VOA’s Burmese Service.
Courtesy of voanews.com
Cyclone Amphan is Intensifying as a Serious Storm Surge, Heavy Rain and Wind Threat to India, Bangladesh #Cyclone #Amphan #India #Bangladesh
Cyclone Amphan is quickly strengthening in the Bay of Bengal as it tracks toward India, Bangladesh and Myanmar as a serious threat to one of the world’s most vulnerable populations to cyclones.
Cyclone Amphan (pronounced AM-pun) is currently in the central Bay of Bengal and will track generally northward this weekend and then a turn toward the north-northeast is likely. Its exact track remains uncertain and will determine where the greatest threat from this system will be.
Atmospheric conditions are favorable for development and sea-surface temperatures are very warm. Rapid intensification is a possibility and this tropical cyclone needs to be monitored closely.
Amphan is becoming a hurricane strength system, but could become a major hurricane equivalent system by early Tuesday.
The exact track remains uncertain and as a result areas from northeastern India into Bangladesh and northwestern Myanmar need to be prepared.
As the cyclone approaches the coast on Tuesday night, strong winds, very rough sea conditions, storm surge and heavy rain are likely across Odisha and West Bengal coasts. The Indian Meteorological Department has issued an orange alert to both Odisha and Gangetic West Bengal (South Bengal). The alert urges the residents to be prepared for gale winds and very heavy rainfall.
A red alert has been issued for Gangetic West Bengal, which urges residents to take action to protect themselves from the extremely heavy rainfall and severe winds forecast for that day.
Sailors and fisherman in Bangladesh have been told to not venture into the Indian Ocean.
Depending on where it makes landfall, significant storm surge is possible, which could be destructive. Bangladesh is particularly vulnerable to dangerous storm surge flooding.
Heavy rainfall with the threat of flooding is also a serious concern. It is too early to know how much rain will fall but areas in yellow, orange and red in the map below have the greatest chance of flooding rain.
Heavy rain and gusty winds are also expected this weekend over Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Strong, gusty winds are also anticipated. Winds near hurricane force are possible, especially in areas closer to where the center of the storm tracks.
The name Amphan is suggested by Thailand and will be the last name from the original list of 64 cyclone names proposed back in September 2004 for storms over the north Indian Ocean. The WMO guidelines stipulate that the countries in the region must name storms in any ocean basin. For the northern Indian Ocean, now thirteen countries suggest the names. The IMD’s regional specialised meteorological centre (RSMC) in New Delhi monitors the cyclogenesis, issues advisories and names the cyclones.
Courtesy of weather.com
Dozens of people are missing and feared dead after a ferry in the Solomon Islands set sail despite warnings not to embark during a cyclone.
The MV Taimareho was travelling on Thursday night from the capital Honiara, on the island of Guadalcanal, to West Are’are, on Malaita island.
The vessel hit choppy seas whipped up by Cyclone Harold. Up to 60 people are reported to have been on board.
Rescue efforts are under way but have been hampered by the bad weather.
Cyclone Harold has brought flooding and run boats aground in the Solomon Islands.
The country’s national disaster agency has issued several warnings of landslides and rough seas. Travellers are urged to exercise extreme caution.
Emergency officials there are already on high alert over the threat of the coronavirus.
The Solomon Islands is one of a dwindling number of countries not to have reported any cases.
Courtesy of BBC News