Cyclone Current Affairs - 2020

National Crisis Management Committee meets to review AMPHAN preparedness

The AMPHAN Super Cyclone is expected to reach West Bengal by May 20, 2020. The wind speeds are expected to be between 155 km/hr and 165 km/hr. In order to review the preparatory measures, the National Crisis Management Committee met under the chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary.

National Crisis Management Committee

The National Crisis Management Committee oversees the command, coordination and control of disaster response. It gives direction to the Crisis Management Group as when necessary.

Functions of the Committee

The National Crisis Management Committee reviews the measures required to deal with natural calamity. It coordinates the activities of the state governments and central ministries in relation to disaster preparedness.

Upon constitution of National Crisis Management Committee, the Agriculture secretary seeks directions and provides information in all matters.

Background

Between 1965 and 2017, around 46 severe cyclonic storms have hit Bay of Bengal. Cyclone Phailin that hit in 2013 and super cyclone of 1999 are the cyclones that affected the coasts of Odisha badly. In 2019, Cyclone Fani made landfall in Odisha that claimed lives of 40 people.

Rapid Intensification made AMPHAN a Super Cyclone

The Cyclone ‘Amphan’ has intensified from a severe cyclonic storm to a Super Cyclone. This has happened in less than 40 hours.

Highlights

The rapid intensification of Amphan into a Super Cyclone is mainly because of rapid warming up of Bay of Bengal. The following are the main reasons that led to rapid intensification of the cyclone

  • High Sea Surface Temperature
  • Enough Moisture in the middle layers of the atmosphere
  • Low Vertical Shear Winds

When does Rapid Intensification occur?

Rapid Intensification of a cyclone occurs when there is increase of sustained winds that blow at a speed of 55 km/hr. Rapid Intensification is common in case of hurricanes, so far not in case of cyclones.

Difference between hurricanes and cyclones

Both hurricanes and cyclones are tropical cyclones. They are named differently based on their region of formation. Cyclones are formed in South Pacific and Indian Oceans. On the other hand, hurricanes are formed in North Atlantic, Eastern and Central Pacific Oceans.

History

Scientists believe that Rapid Intensification might become common among the cyclones in the future. Earlier, Rapid Intensification was observed in cyclone Vayu. However, the main issue is that there is lack of data about rapid intensification rates of cyclone in India.

The two other major Super Cyclones that hit India were Cyclone Gonu in 2007 and Cyclone Kyarr in 2019.