Cyclone Nivar Ravaged Tamil Nadu and Puducherry

Gautam Kumar Das

The rapid rhythm of the cyclonic storm suggests an ecstatic mood which are the rhythm of seasons, rhythm of tides and waves, wind speed and rainfall and this rhythm may not be denied. Such rhythmic appearance and disappearance of the very severe cyclonic storm Nivar of the oceanic bodies of Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal lasted for 48 hours duration and ravaged the coastal stretch of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry on 26 November 2020. Very Severe Cyclonic Storm (VSCS) Nivar was barreling towards Tamil Nadu and Puducherry on 24 and 25 November 2020, though it was generated on 21 November 2020 over the Equatorial Indian Ocean and adjoining central parts of the Bay of Bengal starting its movement initially with a formation of low pressure and associated rainfall over South Peninsular India during 23 – 25 November 2020 as per the series of bulletin issued by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD). IMD’s forecast on 22 November 2020 of a low pressure area with the gradual intensification into a cyclonic storm ultimately formed as a very severe cyclonic storm Nivar on 24 November 2020 and the storm moved northwestwards with a speed of 13 kmph at 1730 hours IST of 25 November over Southwest Bay of Bengal (BOB) near Latitude 11.40 N and Longitude 80.70 E, about 110 km east southeast Cuddalore, about 115 km east southeast of Puducherry, and 185 km south southeast of Chennai. The landfall process of Nivar is commenced at 1130 hours IST and Very Severe Cyclonic Storm Nivar lies about 50 km east southeast of Cuddalore, and about 40 km east southeast of Puducherry. Centre of cyclone is likely to be crossed near Puducherry within next 3 hours with wind speed of 120-130 kmph gusting to 145 kmph. Landfall process continues at 01.30 hours IST in the midnight and the center of the cyclone moved northwestwards with a speed of 16 kmph during past six hours on 26 November 2020. The very intense convection formed over Puducherry is weakening that leads to the decrease of intensity of the rainfall gradually, though the rainfall has been continuing. Convective clouds and squall line in association with the feeder band of the cyclone Nivar are moving across Chennai in regular interval that causes the intermittent rainfall precipitation – reported the Indian Meteorological Department. As the Southern India is bracing for the Very Severe Cyclonic Storm Nivar, heavy rainfall is recorded in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry for the period from 24 to 26 November 2020 accordingly.

Rainfall data from 0830 hours IST of 24 November to 0830 hours IST of 25 November 2020 for the Very Severe Cyclonic Storm Nivar
Numgabakkam – 106 mm
Minabakkam – 120 mm
Chennai – 128 mm

Rainfall data from 0830 hours IST of 25 November to 0230 hours IST of 26 November 2020 for the Very Severe Cyclonic Storm Nivar
Nagpatnam – 63 mm
Karaikal – 86 mm
Cuddalore – 246 mm
Puducherry – 237 mm
Chennai – 89 mm 
(source: IMD)

Ultimately the cyclone Nivar crossed Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coastal stretch near Puducherry near Latitude 12.10 N and Longitude 79.90 E during 2330 hours IST of 25 November to 0230 hours IST of 26 November 2020 as a very severe cyclonic storm with the wind speed of 100-110 kmph gusting to 120 kmph at 0230 hours IST of 26 November, 2020. The entire landfall process of the very severe cyclonic storm Nivar took about 3 hours for its completion. Cyclone Nivar crossed the land exactly at the area of Marakkanam in Tamil Nadu with a peak gusty wind speed of 130 kmph and dumped over 300 mm rain in Puducherry in the wee hours of 26 November 2020. Very Severe Cyclonic Storm Nivar crossed the coast of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry as severe cyclonic storm due to gradual decrease of its intensity and is to be weakened further into a cyclonic storm during the next hours, and usually the winds with higher speed of 100 – 110 kmph will be decreased to 65 – 75 kmph when it enters farther into the lands as a storm in the northeast part of  Puducherry and coastal tract of Tamil Nadu.

Before the landfall process i.e. the strike of the cyclonic storm Nivar in the coastal belt, Tamil Nadu Government has shifted 24166 people, including 3948 children in the 987 safe centers in the state that are ready to occupy as temporary flood shelters for the people living in the low-lying areas. In Chennai, waterlogging has been reported in 53 locations, and 312 people have been shifted to 77 relief centers located within the metropolis – reported The Hindu. Major portion of Chennai city has been collapsed as about thousand trees have fallen in the city, among them, 301 fallen trees were removed. Tamil Nadu Government announced public holidays in 13 districts on 26 November 2020 for the devastating effects of Cyclonic Storm Nivar. But the miserable situation has been arisen due to release of about 1000 cusecs water from Chembarambakkam reservoir. The discharged water has increased the flow and water level up to 22-24 feet on River Adyar of Chennai. Assuming the probable inundation by the River Adyar in the relatively low-lying areas in Chennai for the release of such extra water load from the water reservoir Chembarambakkam, people living in the low-lying areas along the river stretch are evacuated. Further, about a dozen of inward and outward trains are cancelled by the authority of the Southern Railways scheduled for the days of 25-28 November 2020.

Nivar means light in Persian and Nivar is named after Iran in the new list of Tropical Cyclones over North Indian Ocean (2020). NIVAR is the third name in the cyclone list after GATI that passed on 23 November 2020 over Somalia emerging from the Arabian Sea. After only 3 days interval of the strike of cyclonic storm Gati over Somalia, the very severe cyclonic storm Nivar ravaged Tamil Nadu and Puducherry on 26 November. On 22 November 2020, a deep depression over the southwest Arabian Sea rapidly intensified into a cyclonic storm Gati. Cyclonic storm Gati crossed Somalia coast on 23 November as a severe cyclonic storm near Latitude 10.40 N around 2030 hours IST, whereas NISARGA, the first name in the list of cyclones passed Maharashtra coast on 6 June 2020. And the severe cyclone Nivar slammed into the southern coast of India early on 26 November 2020. Strong wind speed of the Cyclone Nivar tears down the power lines, several trees are uprooted and a total of 101 huts are damaged. The Greater Chennai Corporation cleared 223 roads after uprooted trees disrupted traffic due to Cyclone Nivar. The airport operations, metro rail, and bus transport have resumed in Tamil Nadu after Cyclone Nivar made landfall near Puducherry, while the metro and the bus resumed in the afternoon, the flight operations started at 9 am, the authorities said on 26 November 2020. Heavy rainfall causes waterlogging in several areas of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry following landfall made by Cyclone Nivar last night on 25 November. At least five people were killed, and three others injured in Tamil Nadu as Cyclone Nivar slammed into the southern state and Puducherry early on Thursday, though the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) Director General briefed to the news media on 25 November, 2020 stating “We go for zero casualty approach”– reports The Hindustan Times. Accurate forecasting and early action helped avert loss of life and the mass evacuations hailed for almost casualty-less very severe cyclonic storm Nivar.

Cyclonic storm with severe devastating forms is the result of very recent phenomenon of global warming and climate change as interpreted by the meteorologists and climate change researchers, though the weather is an extraordinarily complex system for its dynamic nature and changing parameters of sensitiveness. With so many limitations, the present officials of the Indian Meteorological Department are always improving and updating their predictions for years and because of their predictions, loss of properties including casualties becomes less in numbers. This time Indian Meteorological Department has predicted landfall point of cyclone Nivar between Karaikal and Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram) close to Puducherry in their first track forecast on 23 November 2020 which is almost the same for the actual landfall process on 26 November. Indian Meteorological Department is predicting passage of cyclones and point of landfall process accurately for the last few cyclones. However, for this time, the point of landfall process schedule was wide open from Mamallapuram to Karaikol which is extended about 230 km, still Indian Meteorological Department have been predicting with the precision and giving more reliable information that help the respective governments to take appropriate steps for the mitigation of the natural disaster at the earliest as well as the common people are saved from the effects of such natural calamities. Indian Meteorological Department has gradually been improving in the forecast system and prediction abouts the cyclonic storms more precisely with the new measuring tools and modern software computational devices. Of late their forecast is not only correct, but also almost accurate, though more experiments are required in this field to obtain the results of greater accuracy in the forecast system as the nothing succeeds like success.

Nov 28, 2020

 Gautam Kumar Das

Your Comment if any