India was slammed on Monday by the strongest storm on record to reach its west coast, hampering authorities’ response to the Covid-19 crisis in some of the country’s hardest hit regions.
Tropical Cyclone Tauktae, a storm with wind speeds equivalent to a high-end Category 3 hurricane that formed in the Arabian Sea, made landfall Monday night local time in Gujarat. It strengthened slightly as it hit the western state with maximum sustained winds of 205 kilometers per hour (125 mph), according to the United States’ Joint Typhoon Warning Center.
By Tuesday morning, it had weakened from an “extremely severe cyclonic storm” to a “severe cyclonic storm,” according to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD).
Photos and videos show highways turned into rivers by the heavy rain, and trees and power lines toppled by ferocious winds. The cyclone has killed at least 26 people across the coastal states of Gujarat, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra, according to state authorities.
The deaths were due to drowning at sea, house collapses, lightning strikes and other accidents linked to the severe weather, according to states’ disaster management authorities.
This comes as India reels from its second wave of coronavirus, which has infected millions and killed tens of thousands since it began in mid-March. Though daily case figures began declining over the past week, Covid-related deaths continue to break record highs and the crisis is far from over — especially in rural areas with fewer resources and medical supplies.
Covid patients were among the hundreds of thousands evacuated from low-lying areas this week as the region braced for the cyclone’s arrival. In Mumbai, 580 patients from makeshift care centers were moved to various hospitals on Friday and Saturday, according to the city’s municipal corporation.
It’s not the first time India has dealt with natural disasters during the pandemic — last year, the country faced cyclones in late May and early June that also prompted mass evacuations.
Back then, however, India’s cases were still relatively low, at fewer than 10,000 a day, and the country was emerging from a stringent lockdown.
This time, India is the global epicenter of the pandemic. Its health care system has collapsed and patients are still dying from shortages of oxygen and other supplies. The government is more fragile and under greater scrutiny than before, as it struggles to contain the outbreak while facing heavy criticism both at home and overseas.
And the cyclone could be just the harbinger of more disaster to come, as India’s months-long monsoon season approaches.
Courtesy of cnn.com
A tropical cyclone on Australia’s west coast destroyed several homes and cut electricity to tens of thousands of people overnight before weakening on Monday morning.
Officials said around 70% of the structures in the coastal town of Kalbarri, about 500 kilometres (310 miles) north of state capital Perth, had sustained damage when the category three storm made landfall late on Sunday.
“The devastation caused by Cyclone Seroja is widespread and severe,” Western Australia state premier Mark McGowan told reporters.
Around 40% of the damage was “major”, WA Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm said.
No deaths or major injuries have been reported.
A recovery effort is now underway as the biggest threat has passed, McGowan said. There are 31,500 customers still without power supply, which he said could take days to restore.
Tropical cyclone Seroja was downgraded after making landfall to a category two system and was later downgraded further to a tropical low, but bringing heavy rain and strong winds.
Photos on social media and local broadcasts showed downed powerlines, debris and houses stripped of roofs and walls. Western Australia state authorities opened three evacuation centres for displaced residents.
The region was on high alert for the storm, given that houses and other buildings were not built to withstand tropical cyclones, which usually do not push so far south.
“This is a rare weather event for people in southern and eastern parts of WA,” the Bureau of Meteorology said.
Courtesy of whbl.com
A rare clash of cyclones off the coast of Western Australia is expected to bring wild weather to much of the state’s coast – and has excited weather enthusiasts across the globe.
Tropical cyclone Seroja, which tore through Timor-Leste last weekend, was on a collision course with tropical cyclone Odette, with the resultant interaction known as the Fujiwhara effect.
The phenomenon, named after the Japanese meteorologist Sakuhei Fujiwhara, describes what happens when two tropical systems rotate around each other, making it difficult to forecast the intensity and path of storms.
Prof Kevin Walsh, a lecturer in meteorology at the University of Melbourne, said the Fujiwhara effect meant there was a range of permutations for the storms.
“Depending on how close they get to each other, one can absorb the other or they could do a twist, a twirl around the ballroom, and go in different directions,” Walsh said on Friday.
“Typically with the Fujiwhara effect, it’s the bigger storm that absorbs the smaller one, if they get close enough. These two may not get close enough for that to happen. The main real-world impact is that it makes the forecast of the tracks a lot more difficult to predict accurately because of the unpredictability of the Fujiwhara effect.”
Walsh said that, while relatively rare, the phenomenon was seen in locations that routinely face cyclones.
“It doesn’t happen very often but it has been observed a few times, particularly in locations that get a lot of tropical cyclones, such as the north-west Pacific. It has not been seen recently in Australia, but it has been seen before.”
The Bureau of Meteorology said in a statement that cyclone Odette had already “influenced” Seroja, causing it to take a more southerly track.
The bureau’s Rob Lawry, of the Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre, said the collision was just a “matter of luck” and he expected cyclone Odette to weaken.
“We’re expecting it to stay a cyclone for the next 12-24 hours before it weakens off back to a tropical low.”
Lawry said Odette was essentially being flicked out by cyclone Seroja.
“It’s slingshotting around cyclone Seroja, rather than head to the coast, it’s going to spin around Seroja and end up parallel to the north-west of the Pilbara,” he said. “It almost looks like two bullseyes dancing around each other. These are big weather systems … they’re impressive to watch on satellite imagery.”
Courtesy of theguardian.com
Queensland, Australia battered by wild weather as Tropical Cyclone Niran intensifies off Cairns coast
Wild weather has lashed Queensland overnight as severe storms hit the south-east and a cyclone rampages off the north-east coast.
More than 70 millimetres of rain has been dumped on Brisbane’s CBD and surrounding regions.
In the state’s far-north, Tropical Cyclone Niran has been upgraded to a Category 2 system as it continues to bring gale-force winds and heavy rainfall.
The slow-moving system is hovering about 280km north-east of Cairns.
There’s still a possibility conditions intensify before they ease.
“Tropical cyclone Niran is expected to remain off the north Queensland coast while intensifying over the next day or two,” the Bureau of Meteorology said.
“Although a coastal crossing is not expected, it may extend gales westward over coastal and island communities tonight or on Wednesday.
“In the longer term, tropical cyclone Niran is expected to meander off the north Queensland coast before moving southeastward away from the east coast from Thursday onward.”
The tropical cyclone brings with it gusts up to 100km/h and heavy rain.
Exposed coastal and island communities between Cape Melville and Innisfail, including Cooktown, Cairns and Port Douglas, are most at risk.
The BoM recommends residents listen to advice from the weather bureau and local emergency services over the next two days.
Courtesy of 7news.com.au
The strongest tropical cyclone ever measured in the northern Indian Ocean has made landfall in eastern Africa, where it is poised to drop two years’ worth of rain in the next two days.
Tropical Cyclone Gati made landfall in Somalia on Sunday with sustained winds of around 105 mph. It’s the first recorded instance of a hurricane-strength system hitting the country. At one point before landfall, Gati’s winds were measured at 115 mph.
“Gati is the strongest tropical cyclone that has been recorded in this region of the globe; further south than any category 3-equivalent cyclone in the North Indian Ocean,” said Sam Lillo, a researcher with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Physical Sciences Laboratory.
Its intensification from about 40 mph to 115 mph was “the largest 12-hour increase on record for a tropical cyclone in the Indian Ocean,” Lillo added.
One reason Gati intensified so quickly is because the size of the cyclone itself is quite small, Lillo said. The warm water in the area coupled with low wind shear also contributed to the rapid strengthening, Accuweather reported.
“With climate change we’re seeing warmer ocean temperatures and a more moist atmosphere that’s leading to a greater chance of rapid intensification for tropical cyclones like Gati,” meteorologist and climate journalist Eric Holthaus told NPR. “Gati’s strength is part of that broader global pattern of stronger storms.”
And those storms are leading to a lot more rain. Northern Somalia usually gets about 4 inches of rain per year; data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show Gati could bring 8 inches over the next two days — “two years worth of rainfall in just two days,” Holthaus said. Some isolated areas could see even more than that.
“The system may impact Socotra, Somalia, Yemen and western Oman from [Sunday] night into Monday and potentially Tuesday, with the main threat being heavy rain and flash flooding,” said AccuWeather’s lead international meteorologist, Jason Nicholls, told the site.
A United Nations alert warned the storm posed an immediate threat to the marine shipping lane that links Somalia and the Gulf states.
Gati is much more intense than the previous strongest storm to hit Somalia — a 2018 cyclone that brought winds of 60 mph.
Courtesy of npr.or
Nuri made landfall in southern China on Sunday morning as an ill-defined tropical cyclone.
Twelve hours ago it was a tropical storm over water, with winds circulating around its centre at 75km/h (46.6 mph), strengthening slowly but not expected to reach typhoon strength.
China.org.cn, quoting the Chinese Meteorological Administration, said Nuri landed on Hailing Island in Yangjiang City at about 8:50am (00:50 GMT) on Sunday, becoming the first tropical cyclone to make landfall in China this year.
South China’s Guangdong Province’s meteorological service said Nuri landed as a tropical storm, packing winds of 82.8km/h (51.4 mph) near its centre.
Guangdong had launched the Level IV emergency response – the lowest one – on Friday evening as Nuri developed in the South China Sea.
On Sunday, Guangdong authorities raised the local emergency response to Level III.
The risk to western Guangdong and Guangxi, as Nuri disintegrates further, is that of rains causing floods.
Recent heavy seasonal rains make the ground there especially prone to flooding at the moment.
Courtesy of aljazeera.com