Extremely severe Cyclone Fani (pronounced Foni) made a landfall on the eastern Indian coast around 10 am on Friday. Strong winds accompanied by heavy rainfall lashed the area. Earlier, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) had warned of Cyclone Fani and had said the wind speed would rise up to 195 km per hour once it made a landfall.
Following the storm warning, the Odisha government rushed into action and evacuated about 800,000 people from the coastal areas. A National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team will work with the Coast Guard to provide relief in the aftermath of Cyclone Fani.
While preparations were on to deal with the onslaught of Cyclone Fani, many experts blamed its severity on the rapid climate change that has been taking place. When weather expert Mario Picazo was asked about his take on the rapid climate change and how it was fuelling extreme weather phenomena, such as super-cyclones and tsunamis, he said, “All the extra energy we’re putting into the climate system is used by many of these systems, except tsunamis, to grow more powerful.”
The National Geographic says, “Human activity is driving climate change and rise in temperature. The average temperature of the Earth is rising at nearly twice the rate (that) it was 50 years ago. This rapid warming trend cannot be explained by natural cycles alone, scientists have concluded. The only way to explain the pattern is to include the effect of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted by humans.” It further says that hurricanes and other storms are likely to become stronger and floods and droughts will become more common.
However, Mr Anupam Kashyapi, head-weather monitoring, IMD, Pune, does not agree that climate change and global warming have anything to do with Cyclone Fani. Mr Kashyapi said, “This is a natural phenomenon, although quite exceptional.”
After the landfall, Cyclone Fani will intensify and cause widespread destruction and flooding in the low-lying coastal areas of Odisha. The neighbouring states of Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal have been put on high alert, too. According to reports, the storm is then likely to continue to move north-north-eastwards, weaken gradually and enter West Bengal as a ‘severe cyclonic storm’ with a wind speed of 90-100 kmph gusting to 115 kmph.
According to reports, many trains and flights have been cancelled. Bhubaneswar airport will be shut down from midnight on Thursday night and Kolkata airport, too, from 3 pm on Friday until 8 am on Saturday. Vehicle movement on this route has also been restricted. Tourists in Odisha have been moved to safety and fishermen have been asked not to venture out into the sea.