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Fact Box: Tropical Cyclone “Mora”

A deep depression in the Bay of Bengal has been declared intensified into a tropical cyclone named Mora. This is second cyclone in the Bay of Bengal after Maarutha, which helped bring in the Monsoon earlier by a week over Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

The tropical Cyclone Mora is likely to hit Bangladesh coast in next 24 hours and expected to cause heavy rains in West Bengal and North East Indian states. It may also help to pull monsoon faster over mainland.

About 2017 North Indian Ocean cyclone season

Every year, the North Indian Ocean cyclone season extends roughly between April to December with two peaks in May and November. This season includes cyclones in Bay of Bengal and Arabian sea, apart from Indian Ocean in northern hemisphere. The first cyclone of 2017 season was Cyclone Maarutha which was formed in April, 2017 triggering heavy rainfall in Sri Lanka, Myanmar and India’s Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Apart from other damages, three people were killed in Myanmar by Cyclone Maarutha. Cyclone Mora is second such cyclone in the Indian Ocean.

Naming of Tropical Cyclone

Tropical cyclones are classified into three main groups, based on intensity: tropical depressions, tropical storms, and a third group of more intense storms, whose name depends on the region. If a tropical storm in the North-western Pacific reaches hurricane-strength winds on the Beaufort scale, it is referred to as a typhoon. If a tropical storm passes the same benchmark in the Northeast Pacific Basin, or in the Atlantic, it is called a hurricane. Neither “hurricane” nor “typhoon” is used in either the Southern Hemisphere or the Indian Ocean. In these basins, storms of tropical nature are referred to simply as “cyclones”.

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Depression in Bay of Bengal named “Tropical Cyclone Maarutha”

A deep depression in Bay of Bengal has intensified into a tropical cyclone named Maarutha. This cyclone is expected to hit Myanmar on 17 April 2017 and bring heavy rains in parts of that country. Tropical Cyclone Maarutha is the first named storm of 2017 Northern Hemisphere tropical cyclone season.

About Tropical Cyclones

A Cyclone represents a rotating, organized system of clouds and thunderstorms that originates over tropical or subtropical waters and has closed low-level circulation. Most large scale cyclonic circulations are centered on areas of low atmospheric pressure.  Based on their latitude, the cyclones may be tropical cyclones or temperate cyclones (extra-tropical cyclones).

The tropical cyclones rotate anti-clockwise in the northern hemisphere and are classified into three types viz. Tropical Depression  maximum sustained winds of 38 mph or less); Tropical Storm (maximum sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph); hurricane (maximum sustained winds of 74 mph) and major hurricane (maximum sustained winds of 111 mph). Hurricanes are called typhoons in western North Pacific, while similar storms in the Indian Ocean and South Pacific Ocean are called cyclones.

Tropical Cyclones in Indian Ocean

Tropical cyclones between east of the Horn of Africa and west of the Malay Peninsula are most common from April to December, with peaks in May and November in the Indian Ocean. Vardah was the strongest cyclone of the 2016 North Indian Ocean cyclone season. The other cyclones in 2016 season included Cyclonic Storm Roanu, Cyclonic Storm Kyant and Cyclonic Storm Nada. Cyclone Maarutha is the first tropical cyclone of 2017 North Indian Ocean cyclone season. It started forming under the influence of a persistent area of convection in South Bay of Bengal on April 13, 2017 and has been recently classified as a Cyclonic storm. After giving heavy rainfall in Sri Lanka and Andaman & Nicobar Islands, it is expected to make a landfall in Myanmar in next two three days.

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Tropical Cyclone Chapala hits Yemen triggering heavy floods

A rare tropical Cyclone Chapala has slammed into Yemen triggering heavy flooding and causing damage in coastal region of the war racked country.

The cyclone made landfall in the south eastern provinces of Hadramawt and Shabwa along the Gulf of Aden coast of Yemen in Arabian Sea bringing winds of speed more than 100 kms per hour.

Key facts

  • Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has categorized Cyclone Chapala as a Category 4 equivalent storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
  • It is believed that Cyclone Chapala is the most powerful storm that has hit Yemen in last five decades.
  • It is the second-strongest cyclone on record over the Arabian Sea, only after Cylone Gonu (2007).
  • The rainfall brought by cyclone has caused flooding of rivers which are usually dry causing destructive mudslides.
  • Earlier the cyclone had wreaked havoc on the island of Socotra, located 350 kilometers off the Yemeni mainland.

Cyclone Chapala was formed after a low pressure was formed over the Arabian Sea with deep depression intensity. The low pressure was formed due to record warm water believed to be associated with an El Niño event and low vertical wind shear.

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