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Titli, Hudhud, Phailin, 05B: One state, four cyclones, same month, different years

A cyclone at Bay of Bengal and the Odisha coastline in October is not a first time occurence

New Delhi: The coastal state Odhisa was hit by cyclone “Titli” on Thursday morning, which eventually made landfall near Gopalpur in Odisha’s Ganjam district. It was accompanied by heavy rain strong winds (reaching up to 126 kmph) in the region. Coastal and adjacent interior regions in Odisha received heavy rainfall and will continue to do so. Northern Andhra Pradesh has been affected too, albeit not as severely as coastal Odisha.

The cyclone threw normal life out of gear as heavy to very heavy rains started lashing the two districts since late Wednesday night. Eight people were killed in different storm-related incidents. As per officials, high-speed winds have caused damage to kuchha houses, trees and electricity poles have been uprooted. Over 3 lakh people have been evacuated and warning signals to fishermen were issued as Titli was upgraded to a ‘very severe cyclonic storm’ category on Wednesday.

Though it is not first such occurrence in October in the coastal city as Bay of Bengal and the Odisha coastline have, in the corresponding past, experienced Superstorms like Phailin, Hudhud and the infamous 1999 Odisha cyclone – which have claimed thousands of lives and uprooted countless homes.

Let’s take a look at Odisha’s most destructive cyclones over the years:

Phailin

  • Phailin was the second-strongest tropical cyclone ever to make landfall in India, behind only the 1999 Odisha cyclone. The system started off on October 4, 2013 within the Gulf of Thailand, to the west of Phnom Penh in Cambodia. Over the next few days, it moved westwards and emerged into the Andaman Sea. Over the Bay of Bengal, the cyclonic system was equivalent to a category 5 hurricane and it gradually weakened as it reached Odisha coast. Five years ago to the day, Phailin made landfall at Gopalpur.
  • The cyclone prompted India’s biggest evacuation in 23 years with more than 550,000 people moved up from the coastline in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh to safer places. Most of the evacuated people were sheltered in 500 specially-built cyclone camps in the two states.
  • Phailin also caused flooding and damaged crops in over 500,000 hectares of agricultural land in the state. 44 people reportedly lost their lives in Odisha due to the storm.

05B (1999 Cyclone)

  • The 1999 Odisha cyclone, also known as Cyclone 05B, and Paradip cyclone, was the strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded in the North Indian Ocean.
  • It was also the deadliest tropical cyclone in the Indian Ocean since the 1991 Bangladesh cyclone, and deadliest Indian storm since 1971.
  • The Category Five storm made landfall just weeks after a category 4 storm hit the same general area. It was a tropical depression formed over the Malay Peninsula on October 25.
  • It moved to the northwest and became a tropical storm on October 26. It continued to strengthen into a cyclone on October 27. On October 28, it became a severe cyclone with a peak of 160 mph (260 km/h) winds. It hit India the next day as a 155 mph (250 km/h) cyclone.
  • The 1999 cyclone was the strongest, most destructive cyclone recorded in the region. It began as a tropical depression in the Andaman sea in October 1999 and it grew in strength as it moved West-Norhtwestard. It reached super cyclonic storm intensity, with wind speeds reaching up to 260 kmph a day before it made landfall in Odisha.
  • The government estimated the official death toll as 9,887. The unofficial death toll was considerably higher. 

Hudhud

  • Hudhud was ‘extremely severe’ category cyclonic storm that hit the Eastern coastline of India in October 2014. It originated from a low-pressure system caused by upper-air cyclonic circulation in the Andaman sea. The storm made landfall near Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, with wind speeds reaching up to 185 kmph.
  • After claiming at least 43 people lives in Nepal, it severely affected Andhra Pradesh – where (NDRF) ad made preparations for the storm’s landfall and several trains along the East coast of India were cancelled.
  • The cyclone first passed through Andaman islands gaining intensity and before it made landfall in Andhra, nine districts were already on high alert. A total of 61 people lost their lives in Andhra Pradesh in the cyclone.
  • The storm lost intensity as it moved North and entered Odisha. Balasore, Kendrapara, Bhadrak, Jagatsinghpur, Puri, Ganjam, Mayurbhanj, Jajpur, Cuttack, Khurdha, Nayagarh, Gajapati, Dhenkanal, Keonjhar, Malkangiri and Koraput districts were on high alert. Southern Odisha experienced heavy rainfall and wind speeds of about 90 kmph. The government has evacuated 67,752 people to safe places and cyclone centres in the southern districts before the storm reached Odisha.
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