Agri Business

Super cyclone Amphan weakens a round, may fuel heat wave over land

Vinson Kurian Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on May 19, 2020

Photo: IMD website

Super Cyclone Amphan over West-Central Bay of Bengal has weakened as an extremely severe cyclone by Tuesday noon, ahead of a projected landfall over the West Bengal-Bangladesh coast tomorrow (Wednesday). But, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has held out a warning that the cyclone would also cause temperatures to rise on its trail, over land across the country.

Maximum temperatures

Maximum temperatures are currently normal to below normal over most parts of the country after cooler western disturbances intervened over North-West and East India and later Amphan dropped anchor in the Bay. Rain-driving winds would now be replaced by dry north-westerly winds and resultant dry weather over North-West, Central and West India, the IMD said on Tuesday afternoon.

Maximum temperatures may rise gradually by 2-4 degrees Celsius over the plains of North-West, Central and West India during next 3-4 days but by only slightly lower 2-3 degree Celsius over the South Peninsula from as early as tomorrow (Wednesday). A heat wave may develop over West Madhya Pradesh and Vidarbha from Tuesday to Saturday; over Rajasthan from Wednesday to Saturday; over Uttar Pradesh and Telangana from Thursday to Saturday; over Gujarat from Wednesday to Thursday; and over Coastal Andhra Pradesh and Rayalaseema from Friday to Saturday.

Landfall dynamics

Extended heating and heat waves are essential to lowering the atmospheric pressure over land and set up the right gradient vis-a-vis the comparably cooler seas and the higher pressure. The monsoon winds blow in from the high-pressure area (sea) to a low-pressure area (land). The heating process over North-West India had been compromised due to western disturbances trooping in with increased frequency. This is likely affecting the timely onset of the monsoon, which IMD now expects to reach Kerala on June 5, delayed by four days. And the super cyclone did its bit by robbing lots of available moisture. The seas would time to recoup the kinetic energy lost, and organise the monsoon flows afresh.

Meanwhile, the weakened Amphan is expected to bring winds with maximum sustained speeds of 155-165 km/hr gusting to 185 km/hr (strength of a very severe cyclone) at the time of landfall across the West Bengal-Bangladesh coasts between Digha and Hatiya Islands close to Sundarbans by Wednesday afternoon/evening. The IMD has forecast fairly widespread to widespread rain or thundershowers with isolated heavy to very heavy falls over North Odisha, West Bengal, Sikkim and the North-Eastern States during next two-three days. Isolated extremely heavy falls is forecast over the Gangetic West Bengal.

Covid-10 challenge in relief work

Anshu Sharma, Co-Founder of the New Delhi-based SEEDS, an NGO, said Amphan could graze Odisha and hit West Bengal harder. “Not only is it the first storm of the 2020 cyclone season, but is also a first ever we are facing in the midst of a pandemic. SEEDS has mobilised field teams to prepare communities in the cyclone's path. We have been working both in both the states to help communities prepare and recover from disasters in the past years, with the most recent experience being of Cyclone Fani in May last year,” he told BusinessLine.

Calibration of preparedness and response actions to a Covid-19 reality is the new challenge that relief agencies are working with. While the usual space requirement for housing disaster impacted families is at the rate of is 3.5 sq m per person, in the Covid context, it has risen to 5 sq m to ensure the required social distancing. When accounted for a million plus people, this space requirement becomes huge. “We are working to support concerned authorities and are in constant engagement with the communities to ensure that required safety measures in the process of evacuations and sheltering during the cyclone,” Sharma added.

Published on May 19, 2020

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