Double Trouble - Cyclone Tauktae and Cyclone Yaas
On the morning of 13th May, IMD released information on the formation of a low-pressure area over southeast Arabian Sea and adjoining Lakshadweep area. This was to intensify further in the subsequent 24 hours into a cyclonic storm, named ‘Tauktae’ and move north northwestwards covering the entire west coast of India and make landfall in Gujarat by 17th-18th May.
In view of this, NDMA proactively took a meeting on the very same day with the concerned SDMAs to take stock of the preparations to reduce the effect of the impending cyclone. Do’s and don’ts related to preparation, precautions to take during cyclone were immediately disseminated on social media platforms television and radio. Hon’ble PM Narendra Modi also held a meeting on the 15th to review preparedness of the States, Central Ministries/Agencies for Cyclone Tauktae.
Trajectory of Cyclone Tauktae (14-19 May, 2021)
- A low pressure area formed over southeast Arabian Sea & adjoining Lakshadweep area in the morning of 13th May 2021.
- It concentrated into a depression over Lakshadweep area in the morning of 14th May, 2021 and further intensified into a deep depression in the same afternoon and into cyclonic storm ‘Tauktae’ by midnight.
- It moved nearly northwards and intensified into a severe cyclonic storm by the evening of 15th May over eastcentral Arabian Sea. Continuing to move nearly northwards, it intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm in the early hours of 16th May over eastcentral Arabian Sea.
- It gradually started moving northnorthwestwards from noon of 16th May and intensified rapidly into an extremely severe cyclonic storm in the early hours of 17th May. Thereafter, it entered marginally unfavourable environment, weakened gradually and crossed Saurashtra coast close to northeast of Diu on 17th May.
- After landfall, it weakened into a very severe cyclonic storm over Saurashtra in the midnight of 17th May. Thereafter, it started moving north-northeastwards and weakened into a severe cyclonic storm in the forenoon and further into a cyclonic storm during noon of 18th May over Saurashtra and adjoining Gujarat region.
- Continuing to move northnortheastwards, it weakened into a deep depression in the evening and into a depression over Gujarat region and adjoining South Rajasthan by the midnight of 18th May.
As the remnants of Tauktae were spreading in north India, another low pressure area was identified and informed by IMD on 19th May, this time on the east coast of India. The low pressure area identified by IMD was likely to be formed over Andaman Sea and adjoining east central Bay of Bengal around 22nd May. It was to intensify gradually into a Cyclonic Storm during the subsequent 72 hours and move northwestwards reaching West BengalOdisha coast around 26th May.
NDMA immediately reviewed preparations by conducting a high level meeting with NDRF, IMD, CWC, east coast States and other response services on 21st May. Hon’ble PM Narendra Modi also held a meeting on the 23rd to review preparedness of the States, Central Ministries/Agencies for Cyclone Yaas.
Trajectory of Cyclone Yaas (23-28 May, 2021)
- A low pressure area formed over eastcentral Bay of Bengal (BoB) in the morning of 22nd May. It lay as a well marked low pressure area in the same afternoon and concentrated into a depression over eastcentral BoB by noon of 23rd May.
- It moved northwestwards and intensified into a deep depression in the midnight of 23rd May and into the cyclonic storm ‘Yaas’ in the early morning of 24th over the same region.
- It moved nearly northnorthwestwards and intensified into a severe cyclonic storm in the midnight of 24th May over eastcentral BoB. It started moving northwards from the morning of 25th and intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm in the evening over northwest BoB.
- Thereafter, it moved northnorthwestwards crossing north Odisha coast about 20 km to the south of Balasore on 26th May.
- Further moving northnorthwestwards, it weakened rapidly into a severe cyclonic storm over north coastal Odisha in the afternoon, into a cyclonic storm over north Odisha in the evening and into a deep depression in the midnight of 26th over north interior Odisha and adjoining Jharkhand.
- It weakened into a depression over central parts of Jharkhand in the noon of 27th and into a well-marked low pressure area over Bihar and adjoining southeast Uttar Pradesh in the early morning of 28th May.
Preparation was the key!
The cyclone season of 2021 entailed with it the additional challenge of COVID-19. Safe evacuation of thousands of people while ensuring maintenance of COVID appropriate behaviour, along with special preparedness for COVID management in hospitals, power backup and storage of essential medicines in vulnerable locations were some additional and necessary preparations authorities had to undertake this season.
Early warning by IMD and the coordination between different disaster response agencies made cyclones Tauktae and Yaas success stories of accurate forecast, solid preparedness, quick pre-emptive action, and adaptiveness during the pandemic.
The number of days between the end of Tauktae and the beginning of Yaas were not more, only 4 days. However, India’s readiness and response to the double trouble of cyclones during the second wave of COVID-19 highlighted the shift in India’s disaster management approach, from being response-centric, to now being preparation centric.
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