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More landfall speed,but less damage

Cyclone Phailin hit with a landfall speed of 200 kmph,more than Hurricane Katrina which recorded 190 kmph.

New Delhi | Published: October 13, 2013 3:21:22 am

Anubhuti Vishnoi

Cyclone Phailin hit with a landfall speed of 200 kmph,more than Hurricane Katrina which recorded 190 kmph. Experts,however,said the damage inflicted may be less than Katrina.

“Katrina was weaker at landfall than Phailin,but Katrina had hurricane-force winds that covered a much larger area,making its storm surge much more devastating than Phailin’s will be,” said Jeff Masters,director of meteorology from Weather Underground,the US-based commercial weather forecasting service.

But Masters warned that Phailin will bring “catastrophic wind and storm surge damage to a 100 km-wide swathe of the coast along and to the right of where the eye makes landfall”.

Masters said cyclonic storms like Phailin are unique to the Bay of Bengal and are formed when the monsoon is not strong in the two cyclone seasons — in May before the monsoon and in October-November after the monsoon has begun to wane.

“Fortunately,it is making landfall farther southwest than the 1999 storm,and the land in this area is elevated a bit in some places. This may mean that we’ll see less inundation from coastal flooding… Also,Hurricane Katrina was different because it caused the failure of a massive flood protection system in New Orleans,” said Hal Needham,climatologist from the Louisiana State University.

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