A Timeline of the Most Disastrous Cyclones That Have Hit Odisha
Odisha has become all-too-familiar with cyclones, owing to how often they hit the East coast. Statistics say that 27 of the world’s 36 deadliest cyclones have hit the East coast of India since the land is flatter and hence has lesser potential to combat winds that make their way towards the coast. Odisha has suffered the wrath of seven deadly cyclones since 1999, and here’s an overview of these catastrophic events.
Super Cyclone (1999)
The Super Cyclone hit Odisha on October 29, 1999 at approximately 10:30 AM with a wind speed of 300 kmph. The landfall point was identified between Ersama and Balikuda. The cyclone was spotted over the Gulf of Siam by the Indian Meteorological Department on October 24, five days before the tragedy. It lasted for over 36 hours and destroyed the coastal districts of Jagatsinghpur, Ganjam, Puri, Balasore, Kendrapara and Bhadrak. The estimated death toll surpassed 50,000, and it took Odisha several years to recover from the damage of this calamity.
Cyclone Phailin (2013)
Cyclone Phailin hit the Eastern coast on October 12, 2013 at 9 PM with a wind speed of up to 250 kmph. The landfall point was identified close to Gopalpur. This category 4 hurricane brought torrential rain and killed over 23 people, affected 9 million localities, over 5000 educational facilities, and $390 million worth of crops. Owing to its powerful winds and disastrous complexities, Cyclone Phailin was also called Super Typhoon or Superstorm.
Cyclone Hudhud (2014)
Cyclone Hudhud hit Odisha on October 12, 2014 with a wind speed of 215 kmph. Odisha faced heavy torrential rain that caused rivers like Banshadhara, Rushikulya and Nagavali to overflow. Lakhs of people were evacuated to safety to avoid calamitous death tolls. However, three people lost their lives, and the flora and fauna of southern Odisha districts suffered deeply.
Cyclone Titli (2018)
Cyclone Titli hit the state on October 11, 2018 at 5:45 AM with a wind speed of 150 kmph. The landfall point was identified as Ganjam and Gajapati. Fortunately, there were no deaths reported. However, trees, power lines, communication and flora-fauna were damaged owing to torrential rain. The primary areas affected were Jagatsinghpur, Puri, Bhadrak, Gajapati, Ganjam, Kendrapara, Khurda and Balasore.
Cyclone Fani (2019)
Cyclone Fani hit the coast on May 3, 2019 with a wind speed of 200 kmph. The cyclone mainly hit the regions of Gopalpur, Chandbali and Puri. Powerful winds along with rain damaged buildings, trees, electric poles, homes, railway stations, but luckily, no lives. Evacuation procedures helped the people of Odisha stay safe and combat the powerful cyclonic winds.
Cyclone Amphan (2020)
Cyclone Amphan hit Odisha on May 20, 2020 at approximately 2:30 in the afternoon with landfall identified near Bakkhali, West Bengal. The wind speed shot up to over 190 kmph that brought along torrential rain and flooding. Prior prediction allowed Odisha to make arrangements for evacuation, so as to avoid loss of life.
Cyclone Yaas (2021)
The most recent natural disaster to hit the Eastern coast of India – Cyclone Yaas, with a wind speed of up to 145 kmph, occurred on May 27, 2021 at approximately 9 AM. Bringing with it heavy rain, the cyclone damaged several homes, flora and farmlands and cost three individuals their lives. Having planned and predicted in advance, Odisha managed to move over 5.8 lakh individuals to safe spaces keeping the potential spread of Covid-19 in mind.