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Thursday, October 22, 2020

To curb economic losses and damage to property during cyclones, IMD to launch ‘dynamic’ warning system

The east coast of India is particularly vulnerable to cyclones and experience three out of the four cyclones formed annually in the North Indian Ocean region.

By: Express News Service | Pune | October 6, 2020 9:41:31 pm
With improved technology and increased use of satellite-guided data in recent years, IMD has managed to better forecast cyclones and issue warnings. (Reuters)

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) will soon launch a dynamic, impact-based cyclone warning system, aimed at minimising economic losses and damage to property due to the cyclones that hit Indian coasts every year.

The east coast of India is particularly vulnerable to cyclones and experience three out of the four cyclones formed annually in the North Indian Ocean region (the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea). The post-monsoon months of October and November offer favourable sea conditions for the occurrence of cyclonic storms, which mainly affect the livelihoods of people of coastal Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal.

Because cyclones are multi-hazardous in nature — they cause heavy rain, strong winds and storm surge over the affected region simultaneously — the associated property loss can be huge. This can be in the form of damage to houses and roads, farms and agriculture lands, public infrastructure, and power and telecommunication lines, adding to the overall economic burden for the affected families, local administrations and state governments.

With improved technology and increased use of satellite-guided data in recent years, IMD has managed to better forecast cyclones and issue warnings.

Advance and accurate cyclone predictions, combined with efforts from disaster management agencies, have also significantly contributed in bringing down the cyclone mortality rate to below 100 per event in the last one decade. Deaths reported during some cyclones since 2013 are — Titli (78), Fani (64), Hudhud (46), Mekanu (26) and Bulbul (25).

“World over, the damage caused to infrastructure due to cyclones is increasing. With India’s growing economy, we aim to reduce the damage and economic losses caused to property and infrastructure. The dynamic, impact-based cyclone warning will be commissioned from this season,” said Director General of IMD, Mrutyunjay Mohapatra.

He was speaking on the topic of ‘Chasing the Cyclones’, organised as part of World Space Week celebrations by the Indian Society of Remote Sensing’s Delhi chapter on Tuesday.

As part of the new system, location or district-specific tailored warnings, which factor in the local population, infrastructure, settlements, land use and other elements, will be prepared and disseminated. All these agencies will make extensive use of cartographic, geological and hydrological data available for the district concerned.

The IMD is partnering with National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) and the respective state governments for this newest warning system, using real-time data.

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