Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: Last May, Odisha saw with horror the wrath of snake (cylone Fani (Foni) snake hood) dance. This May, Bay of Bengal is ready with another terror - cyclone Amphan.

But lead Met agencies believe, there is a twist in the wind this time. Cyclone Amphan is very likely to miss the Odisha coast.

In the last 2-year period, Odisha took a hit by 3-cyclones directly, and one indirectly. Odisha bore the brunt of 2 cyclones - Daye and Titli - in year 2018. And in 2019, Cyclone Fani had simply ran amok in the state. Bulbul flapped its way to WB-Bangladesh, but not without any claw marks on Odisha.

It seems there is a sequence in Odisha. The State always witness two cyclones either in a year or in consecutive years. For instance, Phailin hit Odisha in 2013 and Hudhud took an indirect hit on Odisha in 2014.

But this is for the first time the state is staring at cyclones for 3-consecutive years of 2018, 2019 and 2020. Another big change is since 2019, the month of May is emerging as the cyclone month for the east coast, including Odisha. Till date, the cyclone season in Bay of Bengal has been September - November. IMD data shows only 30 per cent cyclones in BoB were formed in the month of May. But the age old norm looks crumbling now.

Why Weathermen See A Twist in Wind?

Cyclones like Phailin, Daye, Titli and Fani had made a landfall in Odisha, but cyclone Amphan will be missing the Odisha coasts like Bulbul, say lead Met agencies worldwide. The moot point is why they believe so? it's because there are a multitude of factors, which make them infer so.

Cyclone Fani: The origin point of this extremely severe cyclonic storm was different from the current cyclone-in-making, Amphan, which played a key factor behind Amphan's near miss of Odisha coast. While ESCS was formed to the west of Sumatra, cyclone Amphan will form to the north west of Sumatra. (see the main and the image below)

As cyclones first move westwards, and since they are destined to chart northward route, they move towards the north. However, as Coriolis effect is quite strong in Bay of Bengal, this make the cyclonic system deflect towards east. Observations over the period show cyclones in Bay of Bengal took a north-east tilt before landfall.

Since Fani and Amphan have different places of origin, this may play a crucial role between 'hit' and 'miss'.

Exceptions to the rules!

Cyclone Titli: This is an exceptional cyclone. Formed in the Andaman sea but not in the exact location of Amphan. This cyclone had foxed the IMD forecast. Against the forecasted track of landfall via Gopalpur, Titli winged its way through Palasa, and the recurve towards north happened over land. (see the image below)

Cyclone Phailin: Hit odisha in 2013.This extremely severe cyclonic storm was observed as a tropical depression within the Gulf of Thailand, to the west of Phnom Phen in Cambodia. It moved westwards, passed over the Malay Peninsula and emerged into the Andaman Sea. It moved west-northwest to hit Odisha, This cyclone didn't take any recurve. In its north-north-west track, Odisha came enroute. (see the image below)

Bottomline: Keep the fingers crossed. Let this system not fox any model!

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