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What is Cyclone Amphan and how it got its name: All you need to know

Cyclone Amphan is very likely to continue to move North-Northeastwards and weaken further into a deep depression during the next 3 hours and into a depression during the subsequent 6 hours, according to IMD.
May 21, 2020 11:10 IST
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Cyclone Amphan
Cyclone Amphan

According to the Chief Minister of West Bengal, the impact of the cyclone is worse than coronavirus. She said that three districts of South and North 24 Parganas and East Midnapore were worst affected.
Around 12 persons are killed due to the cyclone, it ravaged Kolkata and several parts of West Bengal. Thousands of homes are destroyed and also swamped low-lying areas of the state. Cyclone Amphan made landfall in coastal areas of West Bengal at around 2:30 pm on 20 May, 2020. 

During the next 24 hours, heavy to very heavy rainfall will be at places over Western Assam and Meghalaya and heavy at other northeastern states, according to weather forecasting. On Thursday (21 May, 2020) heatwave is likely to occur over Gujarat and over West Madhya Pradesh and Vidharbha from 21 May to 24 May. IMD also predicted heatwave over Rajasthan, East Madhya Pradesh, Coastal Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Rayalaseema during 22 May- 24 May and over Uttar Pradesh during 23 May-24 May.

Such type of winds has never seen in the city of Kolkata according to S.N Pradhan. Several trees in the city have been uprooted. 

Many of Kolkata's people are without electricity and communications have been disrupted. In fact, in some of the worst-hit areas mobile phones are also not working. As per local news networks trees are uprooted, lamp posts and traffic lights, streets are waterlogged, vehicles are crushed under fallen trees. Already the country is struggling for COVID-19 and the storm is another challenge that the state is facing. Social distancing measures and mass evacuation have made the situation more difficult for authorities. 

Cyclone Amphan is pronounced as UM-PUN had intensified and also classed as "Super Cyclonic storm". How cyclone Amphan got its name? Let us find out!

Cyclone Amphan turned into a "super cyclonic storm" on Monday (18 May, 2020) evening and also hit the coast of West Bengal and Bangladesh by Wednesday (20 May, 2020). 

Cyclone Amphan is the first over the Bay of Bengal in two decades and is turned into Super Cyclone with winds gusting at a speed of nearly 200 kmph. The government of Odisha has prepared to evacuate around 11 lakh to 12 lakh people. National Disaster Response Team (NDRF) has been deployed in Odisha and Bengal.

According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), Amphan, it is very likely to weaken into an extremely severe cyclonic storm during next 06 hours as it nears West Bengal and Bangladesh. 

"It lay centred at 0530 hrs IST of 19th May, 2020 near latitude 15.6°N and longitude 86.7°E over Westcentral Bay of Bengal about 520 km nearly south of Paradip (Odisha), 670 km south-southwest of Digha (West Bengal) and 800 km south-southwest of Khepupara (Bangladesh).

What all areas are likely to be affected due to Cyclone Amphan?

Two states namely Bengal and Odisha have been alerted due to the storm. It is expected to make landfall in the eastern coastal states of West Bengal and Odisha on Wednesday (20 May, 2020). Further IMD stated that very heavy rainfall may also occur in Sikkim, Assam and Meghalaya till Wednesday apart from Odisha and Bengal. It is also said that the velocity of the wind will be so high that it may cause extensive damage to mud houses and partial damage to 'pucca' structure.

IMD also stated that as a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm will cross West Bengal-Bangladesh coasts between Digha (West Bengal) and Hatiya Islands (Bangladesh) on Wednesday (20 May, 2020) with a maximum wind speed of 155-165 kmph gusting to 185 kmph.

Do you know the difference between Tropical Cyclone and Extra-tropical Cyclone?

The Northern Limit of Monsoon will also continue to pass through Car Nicobar. Due to northwesterly winds at lower levels and dry weather over various parts of northwest, central and Gujarat heat waves will likely to occur over Vidharbha during 18-22 May, during 19 to 22 May it will affect over East Rajasthan, Gujarat state and Madhya Pradesh and over West Rajasthan during 20-22 May, 2020.

How Cyclone Amphan got its name?

Six regional specialised metrological centres (RSMCs) and five regional Tropical Cyclone Warning Centres (TCWCs) in the whole world are mandated for issuing advisories and naming of tropical cyclones.

Meteorological Department of India is also one of the six RSMCs to provide advisories of tropical cyclone and storm surge to 13 member countries under the WMO/ESCAP Panel including Bangladesh, India, Iran, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

It is also mandated for RSMC, New Delhi to name the Tropical Cyclones that develop over the north Indian Ocean (NIO) including the Bay of Bengal (BoB) and the Arabian Sea (AS).

Why naming of Tropical Cyclones are done?

It will help the scientific community, disaster managers, media and general masses to identify each cyclone individually, it generates awareness about its development, it also helps in removing confusion regarding the simultaneous occurrence of Tropical Cyclone over a region, it makes to remember tropical cyclone easily, also rapidly and effectively warnings reach to a wider audience due to naming.

Now, let us see how Amphan cyclone got its name.

Tropical cyclones that are formed over different Ocean are named by the concerned RSMC & TCWCs. By following standard procedure, RSMC, New Delhi provide name to tropical cyclones for the north Indian Ocean including the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. 

The 27th Session of WMO/ESCAP Panel on Tropical Cyclones (PTC) held in 2000 in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman. In the discussion, they agreed in principles to assign names to the tropical cyclones in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. After long deliberations, the naming of the tropical cyclones over the north Indian Ocean commenced from September 2004. The list has the names proposed by the 8 member countries of WMO/ESCAP PTC including Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Let us tell you that almost all the names from the list have been utilised till date except the last name (Amphan). Therefore, from the previous list 'Amphan' name is utilised.

So, now you may have come to know about Cyclone Amphan and how it got its name.

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