#WhatTheFAQ: Yikes, another cyclone may hit India! How did Cyclone Sitrang form? When will it strike?

Cyclone Sitrang, which has not formed yet, may develop into a strong storm and hit India in the next few days. Here's all you need to know, plus some interesting facts
FAQ October 20 | (Pic: Edexlive)
FAQ October 20 | (Pic: Edexlive)

Will Diwali celebrations be watered down? That expression is literally meant because the Eastern states of India are bracing for a cyclone — yet again! According to the latest update by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), circulations over the Andaman Sea are likely to influence a cyclonic storm by October 23. If the storm indeed intensifies, it will be the second cyclone to hit India in 2022. What’s more? Read on!

When is the storm likely to form?
In the next 24 hours! Yes, as per the IMD, the low pressure influenced by the Andaman Sea circulations is likely to move north-westwards and concentrate into a depression over the Bay of Bengal (BoB). Then in the next 48 hours, it is very likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm over the west-central region of BoB. Once it strengthens, it will be named Cyclone Sitrang.

Where is it likely to hit? Is it dangerous?
The ECMWF (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts) model has suggested that the landfall could occur between the coasts of Digha (West Bengal) and Pather Ghat (Bangladesh) by October 25, while the IMD GFS (Global Forecast System) predicted that it will hit Odisha around October 28.

The IMD has not yet forecasted the cyclone’s intensity, as it is still in the nascent stage of formation. However, several coastal districts of Odisha have been put on alert.

Now, what’s in the name?
Tropical cyclones, which are characterised by a low-pressure centre and rotating thunderstorms and squalls around it, are named only after they have reached an intensity with winds of 65 km/h (40 mph). The names are selected by the IMD from a list given by the Regional Specialized Meteorological Center in New Delhi. The names are suggested by various countries. Sitrang has been given by Thailand.

Oh, and did you know that the abbreviation BoB was given by the IMD? Well, just FYI.

What is the 2022 North Indian Ocean cyclone season?
The season refers to the event of the formation of an annual cycle of tropical cyclones by a cyclonic system in 2022 in the Indian Ocean. The system was formed on March 23 and is still active. Though there are no specifications, it is most likely to produce cyclonic depressions between April and December, with the peak season for formations falling between May and November. Sitrang is one of the products of this system. Also, it may be noted that Cyclones Asani and Karim which formed in May were also products of this system.

What are the severest cyclones to hit India till date?
India has encountered many strong cyclonic storms since 2013. Here is a list of the deadliest top 10:

Cyclone Tauktae – 2021 (Gujarat, West India)
Cyclone Amphan – 2020 (Odisha, Andhra Pradesh)
Cyclone Fani – 2019 (Odisha)
Cyclone Ockhi – 2017 (Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat)
Cyclone Hudhud – 2014 (Odisha, Andhra Pradesh)
Cyclone Phailin – 2013 (Odisha)
Cyclone Nilam – 2012 (South India)
Cyclone Nisha – 2008 (Tamil Nadu, Sri Lanka)
Odisha Cyclone – 1999 (Odisha)
Bhola Cyclone – 1970 (Bangladesh, West Bengal)

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