Tropical cyclones are named to:
- Provide easy communication between forecasters and the general public regarding forecasts, watches, and warnings.
- Since the storms can often last a week or longer and that more than one can be occurring in the same basin at the same time, names can reduce the confusion about what storm is being described.
Background of Naming:
- 20th Century- First use by an Australian Forecaster.He gave tropical cyclone names “after political figures whom he disliked. By properly naming a hurricane, the weatherman could publicly describe a politician (who perhaps was not too generous with weather-bureau appropriations) as ‘causing great distress’ or ‘wandering aimlessly about the Pacific.'” (Perhaps this should be brought back into use)During World War II-tropical cyclones were informally given women’s names by US Army Air Corp and Navy meteorologists (after their girlfriends or wives) who were monitoring and forecasting tropical cyclones over the Pacific.
- From 1950 to 1952, tropical cyclones of the North Atlantic Ocean were identified by the phonetic alphabet (Able-Baker-Charlie-etc.), but in 1953 the US Weather Bureau switched to women’s names.
- In 1979, the WMO and the US National Weather Service (NWS) switched to a list of names that also included men’s names.The Northeast Pacific basin tropical cyclones were named using women’s names starting in 1959 for storms near Hawaii and in 1960 for the remainder of the Northeast Pacific basin. In 1978, both men’s and women’s names were utilized.
The Northwest Pacific basin tropical cyclones were given women’s names officially starting in 1945 and men’s names were also included beginning in 1979.
- Beginning on 1 January 2000, tropical cyclones in the Northwest Pacific basin are being named from a new and very different list of names.
The new names are Asian names and were contributed by all the nations and territories that are members of the “WMO’s(i.e World Meteorological Organisation) Typhoon Committee”. These newly selected names have two major differences from the rest of the world’s tropical cyclone name rosters.
- Names by and large are not personal names. There are a few men’s and women’s names, but the majority are names of flowers, animals, birds, trees, or even foods, etc, while some are descriptive adjectives.
- Names will not be allotted in alphabetical order, but are arranged by contributing nation with the countries being alphabetized.The Southwest Indian Ocean tropical cyclones were first named during the 1960/1961 season.
The Australian and South Pacific region (east of 90E, south of the equator) started giving women’s names to the storms in 1964 and both men’s and women’s names in 1974/1975.
The last was Phailin (meaning Sapphire from Thailand) and this time its Oman’s turn, thus “HUDHUD” (its a bird of Afro-Eurasian origin).
The list of names India has added to the database includes Agni, Akash, Bijli, Jal (cyclones which have all occurred since 2004). The Indian names in the queue are Leher, Megh, Sagar and Vayu, while those suggested by Pakistan include Nilofar, Titli and Bulbul.
Edit: With this background here’s what we need to know about the present threat we are about to face.
Let me keep it short and in points:
- Cyclone Hudhud as on Thursday evening, the cyclone Hudhud , is located about 700km southeast of Gopalpur, Odisha, and east-southeast of Visakhapatnam.
- The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), chaired by cabinet secretary Ajit Kumar Seth, on Thursday reviewed preparedness for Hudhud, which is now classified as a Category 1 severe cyclonic storm on a scale that rises to Category 5, according to the London-based storm tracking service, Tropical Storm Risk.
- It is predicted to strengthen to Category 4 before landfall. The cyclone is expected to lash most parts of coastal Odisha and Andhra Pradesh with heavy rainfall. The Meteorological Department (Met) said storm surges are expected to flood low-lying areas of east Godavari, Visakhapatnam, Vijayanagaram and Srikakulam districts of north coastal Andhra Pradesh at the time of landfall.
- It also warned extensive damage to mud houses, partial disruption of power and communication lines and minor disruption of rail, road traffic.
- Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik reviewed the situation on Wednesday with 16 departments and issued a target of “zero casualty”. And necessary steps have been taken with National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) positioning 51 teams, 160 boats, 54 diving sets and lot of flood rescue equipment.
- The two states were lashed by Cyclone Phailin around a year ago. Though human casualty was minimal, Odisha had suffered significant damage to crops and houses. Crops spread over 668,268 hectares were destroyed, some 175,000 animals and birds were killed and more than 419,000 houses levelled or damaged by the cyclone and the ensuing floods, official data show.
Here are some images that depict the trajectory of this Cyclone, and of the previous ones.
Excerpts from PTI