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HomeEditorialCyclone Tauktae - The first severe cyclonic storm in 17 years

Cyclone Tauktae – The first severe cyclonic storm in 17 years

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I stay very close to the National Park jungle, the first time I witnessed such wild winds, those scary noises, and rainstorms. Cyclone Tauktae has reached my city very very aggressively. By noon there were heavy rains. In Maharashtra, most of the storm’s impact is expected along the Konkan coast in the form of wind damage to trees and weak structures. People should remain vigil and try to remain at a safe distance from hoardings, power lines, and trees.

The first cyclone of 2021 is here, and quite a hurricane it is. Cyclone Tauktae and rains halted the city in waterlogging / flooding – which Mumbai undergoes regularly and is prepared for there could be some damage to hoardings and tin sheets. The Mumbai area is better built than Sundarbans, capable of withstanding winds better. Also, the wind speed and duration of high-speed winds blowing across the area is much less than what was experienced in West Bengal recently.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) placed Mumbai and Thane under yellow category storm warning, indicating very likely chances of “heavy rain at isolated places”, for one day. Districts towards the southern leg of Konkan and Madhya Maharashtra (including Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Kolhapur, Sangli, and Satara) have been placed under an orange category alert, indicating more severe weather, on Saturday and Sunday. But Monday was an actual shock and a surprising day. Sunday was very calm and it was not as predicted.

The influence of the storm in Maharashtra is quite harsh. The weather agency has predicted that the cyclone might intensify into a severe cyclone by the evening of May 15 and into a very severe cyclone with wind speeds in excess of 160 km per hour by the evening of May 16. On May 13, the IMD had forecasted the formation of the cyclone on May 16. The cyclone was expected to reach the Gujarat coast by the morning of May 18. But it has created havoc one day in advance. The scenario changed overnight and in an uncertain way due to unusual warming of the Arabian Sea which itself could be a consequence of global warming resulting from the emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities.

This would be much ahead of the timeline forecasted by IMD, indicative of rapid intensification and putting in imminent danger, the western coastal states of India. IMD’s current prediction for the track of the cyclone is in a north-northwestward direction from its current position towards the Gujarat and Pakistan coasts. The agency said the cyclone might strengthen further and reach the Gujarat coast by the evening of May 18. Many of the weather models predict that the track of the cyclone will be really close to the coast, which means that coastal areas of Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, and Maharashtra will experience heavy rainfall beginning May 14 and continuing over the weekend, according to The Weather Channel.

The private weather monitoring company also predicts that the cyclone would be one of the strongest that the western coast of India has witnessed in over two decades. Two highly populated megalopolises of south Asia, Mumbai and Karachi will be on the path of the cyclone over the weekend. Roxy Mathew Koll, a climate scientist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, and a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate told media.

The frequency and intensity of cyclones in the Arabian Sea have increased in recent years. This is because of the rapid warming that has made the relatively cooler Arabian Sea (compared to the Bay of Bengal) a warm pool region that can actively support cyclone formation.

Mumbai had suspended its vaccination drive on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday in view of the cyclone warning. The decision was taken to avoid troubles for senior citizens and also possible crowding as the city is expected to get rain due to the cyclone.

Mumbai continues to witness heavy rain, as the depression intensifies. Torrential rains and fierce winds have left a trail of destruction in the city, especially in its coastal areas, hundreds of families living close to the sea have had to abandon their homes and rush to relief camps set up by the state government in the face of massive sea-incursions.

Mumbai’s geographical location and humid climate make Mumbai always escape from cyclones. As humidity is at an all-time high in Mumbai, the cyclonic current pressure of winds is always suitable for dry climate and atmosphere. Mumbai is completely the opposite of it due to high humidity. Mumbai is always saved by cyclones but still, we all need to take care and stay safe.

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Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with three Honourary Doctorate in Journalism. Vaidehi has been an active journalist for the past 21 years, and is also the founding editor of an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, and The Democracy digital video news portal is her brain child. Vaidehi has three books in her name, "Sikhism vs Sickism", "Life Beyond Complications" and "Vedanti". She is an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, OSCP offensive securities, Certified Security Analyst and Licensed Penetration Tester that caters to her freelance jobs.
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