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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Cyclone Mahasen threatens Bangladesh and Myanmar....

When mercury rises, there could be rains in summer, bringing lots of joy and relief to people….. this time the summer has not been exceptionally hot and has been sort of bearable… there is news that Coastal areas of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh will be very hot and humid in the coming days due to the cyclonic system. Similar weather could prevail in Kolkata when the weather system approaches the Bangladesh coast. Residents of coastal areas in Bangladesh and Myanmar are preparing for the arrival of a large storm that is rumbling toward them across the Bay of Bengal, with a U.N. agency warning that more than 8 million people could be in danger.

It is Cyclone Mahesan….. hundreds of thousands of people in Bangladesh and Myanmar were ordered on Wednesday to move to safety as a cyclone barrelled towards low-lying coastal areas. The United Nations has warned that more than eight million people could be at risk from Cyclone Mahasen, which is expected to make landfall on Thursday or Friday somewhere near the border between the two countries.   Cyclone Mahasen is estimated to reach Bangladesh on Thursday (16 May), hitting the low-lying coast around Chittagong and Cox's Bazar. Burma is also threatened and evacuation efforts are underway to move tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims living in camps around Sittwe in the state of Rakhine. The Bangladeshi authorities have raised the danger level to seven out of 10 for low-lying areas around Chittagong and the coastal district of Cox's Bazar.

The Bangladesh Meteorological Department said the storm could create a surge 2m high in coastal districts and residents are being urged to make for cyclone shelters. The airport in Cox's Bazar has closed and Chittagong airport is to shut over the next few hours. Meantime, there are also reports that the cyclone appeared to have weakened to a Category One storm. But the UN still described it as "life-threatening" for 8.2 million people in Bangladesh, Burma and north-east India. At least 50 Rohingya Muslims were feared drowned on Tuesday when boats evacuating them from the path of the cyclone capsized off western Burma.

The number of people the storm will affect depends on the exact path it plows across the region and its strength when it reaches land. Aid agencies and local authorities are scrambling to make sure residents are as prepared as possible, taking measures that include moving people at risk to higher ground and putting emergency supplies in position. BBC reports that there is a flurry of activity going on both in Bangladesh and in Myanmar ahead of the storm. The latest prediction suggests Mahasen will bring wind gusts of 85 to 90 kilometers per hour (53 to 56 mph) to the Bangladeshi coast, CNN International meteorologist Ivan Cabrera said. That puts it at the level of a tropical storm, he said, weaker than the 120-kilometer-per-hour gusts of a hurricane.

Back home in Chennai, TOI reports that Cyclone Mahasen is likely to whisk away clouds from city; it states that starting Wednesday, the mercury is set to rise. The Nungambakkam weather station on Tuesday recorded a maximum temperature of 37.6°C at 5.30pm, a 2°C jump from cloudy Monday’s 35.7°C.     Meenambakkam on Tuesday recorded 36.8°C, which is unusually low for the area, said regional meteorological centre deputy director Y E A Raj. The suburb had recorded a lower temperature than Nungambakkam on Monday as well, at 35°C.

Cyclone Mahasen, which was located 600km east of Chennai, moved away and is about 480km southeast off the coast of Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. However, met department officials said the cyclone would no longer affect the city. “It has now drifted northeast and the city temperature will soar. The cloud cover and the sea breeze were keeping the temperature low for the past two days,” said Raj.      On Tuesday, the sea breeze set in early around1.30pm. he sea breeze is the only saving factor during Chennai's scorching summer. However,in June, winds blowing in the southwest direction will become stronger and will overpower the sea breeze from the east. This will make the month of June uncomfortable.

Cyclonic Storm Mahasen is an active tropical cyclone over the Bay of Bengal, threatening Myanmar and Bangladesh. Originating from an area of low pressure over the southern Bay of Bengal in early May, Mahasen slowly organized. Remaining nearly stationary, it consolidated into a depression on May 10. Gradually gaining forward momentum, the depression attained gale-force winds on May 11 and was designated as Cyclonic Storm Mahasen, the first named storm of the season.  The name Mahasen stirred some controversy from nationalists and officials in Sri Lanka. They claimed that the name comes from a Sinhala King who brought prosperity to the island, thus naming a destructive force of nature after him would be improper. As such, Sri Lankan agencies referred to the system as a nameless cyclone.  

In Lanka, at least seven people have died and nearly 3,000 left homeless as the cyclonic storm 'Mahasen' caused heavy rains in the north and eastern parts of Sri Lanka.Some of the hilly areas had torrential rain. Some 60 fishing boats that defied weather warnings had to be rescued from the the eastern coast of the island nation, officials said.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
15th May 2013.
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