Cyclone Tauktae Timeline: Naming, Formation and Trajectory

Tauktae Cyclonic’s gale-force winds, heavy rainfall and high tidal waves have swept away the coastal belt of Kerala, Karnataka and Goa, leaving six casualties and damage to the property. 

As per the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Tauktae Cyclone is going to intensify into a ‘Very Severe Cyclonic Storm’, which is hurling towards the Gujarat coast at the wind speed of 150-160 kilometres per hour, expected to increase up to 190 kmph.

It is expected to hit 12 districts of Southern Gujarat with heavy rains and storms by Monday Evening (17th May). The Government of Gujarat has evacuated 1.5 lakh people living in the coastal line of Kutch and Saurashtra. Around 25,000 people from the low-lying areas of Porbandar and Mahuva in Gujarat’s Bhavnagar district have also been evacuated in anticipation of landfall.

Mumbai has experienced light rainfall and gusty winds on Monday Morning (17th May) and henceforth, Mumbai Airport has been closed from 11 am to 2 pm.

Tauktae Cyclone:

It is the first Severe Cyclonic Storm of 2021, which has been developing in the Arabian Sea since 2020. Hence, we can say the impact of it will be severe and deadly. 

IMD informed the states on May 13, about the expected Tauktae Cyclone, which helped reduce casualties. On May 16, The IMD has also issued a yellow alert for the coasts of Gujarat and Diu and Daman.

Birth: Formed from a Depression (31-50 Km/hr) in the southeast Arabian Sea on May 14, it quickly escalated into a ‘Very Severe Cyclonic Storm (VSCS)’ (118-165 km/hr). The cyclone hit the coastline of Karnataka and bought heavy rainfall and flash floods on the coastal areas of Kerala and Lakshadweep. Goa has also reported heavy rainfall.

Cyclone Vayu took 36 hours to become a VSCS, compared to Tauktae’s two days, while Cyclone Mekanu (4 days) and Cyclone Nisarga (5 days) grew more slowly.

Name of Tauktae Cyclone:

Myanmar has given the cyclone the name ‘Tauktae’ (pronounced Tau’te). In Burmese, it means ‘gecko,’ which is an extremely loud lizard.

The naming of cyclones is performed by World Meteorological Organization/United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (WMO/ESCAP) Committee on Tropical Cyclones (PTC).

India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Pakistan, Maldives, Oman, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen are among the thirteen countries on the panel that name cyclones in the region.

Reasons for Formation of Cyclones:

The main reason behind the increasing number of cyclones is Global Warming. 

The Ministry of Earth and Science (MoES) report on “Assessment of Climate Change over the Indian Region”, states that the sea surface temperature has been increasing at 1 Degree Celsius from 1951 to 2015, leading to an increase in cyclone frequencies.

Process: Due to the continuous heating of the surface of the water body, warm air rises adiabatically, which creates a low-pressure area and a vacuum, which is then occupied by the cool air around, that further heats up and rises. This creates winds spiralling inwards, moving at a great speed, which soon reaches the land and starts to destroy everything that comes in its path.

It will start to dissipate when it will reach the land, i.e., the landfall of the cyclone (eye of the cyclone reaches the land).

For more info on Natural Disasters of 2020-2021, visit Major Natural Disasters in India 2020-2021.

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