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Cyclone Vardah and some important facts

Dec 21, 2016 09:45 IST

Vardah in ChennaiWhat is Vardah Cyclone?

A low -pressure area created in Malay Peninsula and adjoining north Sumatra region because of the influence of the tenacious area of convection on December 3. It caused the emergence of a tropical disturbance in the following days as the low- pressure area was moving slowly towards the southeast of Bay of Bengal.  This led to the formations of this cyclone which struck Andaman and Nicobar Islands as well as South India.

This was the fourth cyclonic storm of the annual cyclone season. The storm was deputed a depression on December 6. It gradually escalated into a deep depression the following day, staving off the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. And later it intensified into a cyclonic storm on 8 December. It maintained a generally westward track afterward and got consolidated into a severe cyclonic storm on 9 December.

Eventually, it peaked as a very severe cyclonic storm with winds crossing 130 km/h (80 mph) and a minimum central pressure of 982 hPa (29.0 inHg) on 11 December. The following day, the cyclone was converted into a severe cyclonic storm before making landfall over the eastern coast of India close to Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Thereafter, it speedily weakened into a depression due to land interaction on 13 December. The depression also propelled overnight rainfall in Southern Karnataka on December 13 but did not cause any damage.

What Is a Cyclone?

A cyclone is a large volume air mass that revolves around a strong center of low atmospheric pressure. They are usually distinguished by inward spiraling winds that rotate. All large cyclones are centered on low-pressure areas.

Cyclones can also be defined as an atmospheric system in which the barometric pressure plummets progressively to a minimum level at the center and winds blow spirally inward from all sides towards the center, resulting in a lifting of the air and eventually in clouds and precipitation. Hurricanes are also cyclones, that originate in the tropics with windspeeds beyond 64 knots (= 74 mph, 113 km/h).

Story behind the Name of Vardah Cyclone

Before coming to the story behind the name Vardah let us try to know the methodology on the basis of which Cyclones are named around the world. The practice of naming cyclones first began to help people easily remember them. Before this cyclone were known by identifying a storm with a specific number based on its latitude-longitude. 

Naming cyclones made it easy to issue alerts, and for the media to report the developments. According to World Meteorological Organization, naming cyclones also increases the preparedness of the society and heightens interest in the event. Names are ideally resigned in case there is colossal damage to humane lives and property. Example: Hurricane Katrina, Sandy that hit America under the Obama and Bush administration respectively were resigned.

Tropical cyclones which pass over the northern part of the Indian Ocean are named by eight countries in the region, namely India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Thailand, and Oman. This method only started in 2004, 4 years after World Meteorological Organization agreed in principle to allow these countries to name cyclones originating in the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal.

The alphabet system is used to nominate the name of a cyclone. It is done in this way that the name of the year’s first cyclone begins with A. Before 1979, cyclones were only given female names. Male names came into existence in the same year. World Meteorological Organization (WMO) maintains the database of typhoon /cyclone/hurricane names. WMO have made six lists of names which are used in rotation and they are also recycled every six years.

The names are picked from this pre-nominated list and are usually accustomed to the people living in the region. India has contributed the following names so far: Agni, Akash, Bijli, Lehar, Jal, Megh, Sagar and Vayu. Vardah, is an Urdu word which means red rose. This name was given by Pakistan. The name was originally part of a standby list that is used to replace retired names in the original list.

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