All You Need to Know About Cyclone Tauktae

All You Need to Know About Cyclone Tauktae

As Cyclone Tauktae made landfall on the Gujarat coast, leaving 13 dead in its wake, the neighbouring state of Maharashtra, especially Mumbai, also witnessed the effects of the cyclone. Videos have surfaced on the internet showing the Gateway of India being flooded. Let’s understand about Cyclones a bit more.

What Are Cyclones?

It refers to any spinning storm that rotates around a low pressure centre. Cyclones rotates anti-clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and rotates clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. The process of cyclone formation and intensification is called Cyclogenesis. Cyclone can be the most intense storms on Earth. Location is the most important when we are talking about ocean storms because the location of the storm determines what we call it. 

Cyclone vs. Hurricane vs. Typhoon?

They all are the same thing: Tropical storms. But they are known by different names in different locations. 

1. If the storm occurs in the Atlantic Ocean and Northeast Pacific, its called a Hurricane. In the Atlantic, it is Hurricane season between June 1st to November 30th. More than 95% of tropical cyclone activity occurs during this period in this region.

2. If the exact same type of storm occurs in the Northwest Pacific, its called a Typhoon. Typhoons in the Northwest Pacific Ocean are most common from May to October, although they can form year round.

3. If we find those same storms in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean, its called a Tropical Cyclone. And in the South Pacific, its cyclone season between November to April.

What Causes a Cyclone?

Cyclones are centred on areas of low atmospheric pressure, usually over warm ocean waters near the equator. The warm moist air over the ocean rises from the surface in the upward direction, resulting in the formation of the low-pressure zone over the surface. Air from the surrounding region, with higher pressure, pushes into the low-pressure area. The cool air becomes warm and moist and rises again, thus the cycle continues. As the warm air rises, the moisture in the air cools thus leading to the formation of cloud. The whole system grows gradually and becomes fast with time. As a result of this, an eye is created in the centre, as shown in the figure, which is the low-pressure centre into which the high-pressure air flows from above, thus creating a cyclone.

Tauktae: How Cyclones Are Named?

Tropical cyclones can last for a week or more; therefore there can be more than one cyclone at a time. Weather forecasters give each tropical cyclone a name to avoid confusion.

In general, tropical cyclones are named according to the rules at regional level. In the Atlantic and in the Southern hemisphere (Indian ocean and South Pacific), tropical cyclones receive names in alphabetical order, and women and men’s names are alternated. Nations in the Northern Indian ocean began using a new system for naming tropical cyclones in 2000; the names are listed alphabetically country wise, and are neutral gender wise.
The common rule is that the name list is proposed by the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) of WMO Members of a specific region, and approved by the respective tropical cyclone regional bodies at their annual/biennual sessions. 

The only time that there is a change in the list is if a storm is so deadly or costly that the future use of its name on a different storm would be inappropriate for reasons of sensitivity. If that occurs, then at an annual meeting by the WMO Tropical Cyclone Committees (called primarily to discuss many other issues) the offending name is stricken from the list and another name is selected to replace it. 

How Dangerous is Cyclone Tauktae?

On May 14, a depression formed in the Arabian Sea off the cost of Kerala. The JTWC began monitoring the disturbance, and designated it as Tropical Cyclone. That day only, the system intensified to a cyclonic storm, and it was given the name Tauktae by the IMD. The cyclone was upgraded to Category 1 equivalent of the Saffir-Simpson Scale on May 15 and further to category 2. The cyclone have a well defined eye but, the eye later started to degrade according to INSAT imagery and remain ragged for the rest of storms lifetime. 

Preventive Measures During A Cyclone

  • Pay attention towards warning broadcasts from time to time.
  • Stock up on battery powered flashlight and candles.
  • Stock up on bottled water, as well as non-perishable foods that can be prepared and eaten without having to be cooked. Be sure to have enough food and water to last for everyone in the home for a week.
  • Have a well stocked first aid kit. Disinfectants, antiseptics, bandages, cotton, Dettol, thermometer are some of the basic you need.
  • Cooperate and help the rescue team
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Shubhashree Kar

19. Student of BBA. Dance and sports are my passion. I love reading novels, trekking, and camping.