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Odisha’s Tryst With Cyclones 1737 – 2021

Bhubaneswar: Cyclones and Odisha go back a long way. The two are somewhat synonymous. Most of the cyclonic formations in the Bay of Bengal make a landfall in Odisha.

Before the 1999 Odisha Cyclone that left a trail of destruction behind it, the last cyclone about which there is some detailed information is that of October 1971 in the district of Balasore which claimed 10,000 lives and left 10 lakh people homeless.

Cyclones in Odisha before 1971:

1737 – Super Cyclone

1831 – Very Severe Cyclonic Storm

1846 – Very Severe Cyclonic Storm

1864 – Very Severe Cyclonic Storm

1885 – Super Cyclone

1942 – Very Severe Cyclonic Storm

1967 – Very Severe Cyclonic Storm

1971 – Very Severe Cyclonic Storm

1999 – Super cyclone that marked a turning point in disaster preparedness in Odisha.

Here are some of the deadliest cyclonic storms to have hit Odisha since 1999.

1. Cyclone Phailin – 2013: Cyclone Phailin was the second strongest tropical cyclone in India since the 1999 Odisha cyclone. It resulted in heavy rainfall in Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand.

2. Cyclone Hudhud – 2014: Cyclone Hudhud was a strong tropical cyclone that caused damage to Visakhapatnam city in Andhra Pradesh. Odisha too was affected by Hudhud. A total of 61 people lost their lives in Andhra Pradesh.

3. Cyclone Titli – 2018: Very severe cyclonic storm Titli was part of the 2018 North Indian Ocean cyclone season and made landfall between Odisha’s Gopalpur and Srikakulam of Andhra Pradesh. Over three lakh people were evacuated along the sea coast.

4. Cyclone Fani – 2019: Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm Fani was the first severe cyclonic storm of 2019, and also the strongest tropical cyclone to hit Odisha since 1999. Fani reached its peak intensity on May 2, 2019, as a high-end Category 4 major hurricane, with maximum sustained wind speeds of 209-251 kmph. A day later, it made landfall at Puri, Odisha, and weakened into a Category 1-equivalent ‘very severe’ cyclonic storm soon after.

5. Cyclone Bulbul – 2019: Bulbul led to Odisha suffering agricultural damage, with 490,000 acres worth of crops destroyed state-wide. It tracked northwards in the Bay of Bengal, and it finally made landfall near Sagar Island in West Bengal as a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm on November 9, causing extremely heavy rainfall and winds of up to 135 km/h across southern West Bengal. Bulbul directly affected 35 lakh people in West Bengal.

6. Cyclone Amphan – 2020: The powerful tropical cyclone led to the destruction of lives and property in Odisha and West Bengal. Cyclone Amphan was the first pre-monsoon super cyclone of this century that emerged from the Bay of Bengal.

7. Cyclone BOB 03 – 2020: A depression was formed in the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Meteorological Department named it BOB 03. The very next day after the identification, the BOB 03 hit the north Odisha-West Bengal coastline and caused huge destruction of lives and property.

8. Cyclone Yaas – 2021: The cyclone is very likely to cross north Odisha-West Bengal coasts between Paradip and Sagar Island. It is currently located around 220 km south-southeast of Paradip (Odisha). It is very likely to move north-northwest and intensify further into a very severe cyclonic storm over the next 12 hours.