India – Phailin and Floods Update

Phailin made landfall in the coastal town of Gopalpur, Odisha, at 9.30pm on Saturday, but had weakened by the afternoon of Sunday 13th October 2013. The cyclone is now moving in a northerly direction further inland.

The cyclone currently covers a vast area of north eastern India, which according to forecasts, can now expect some very heavy rainfall, as well as further strong winds. Jharkhand, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and parts of western Uttar Pradesh will be affected. However, it is the state of Bihar, in particular, is a concern for flooding in the next few days and has put 28 districts on flood alert. See our flood potential maps for the region here, which show the areas of India most likely to be hit by flooding as a result of fall out from the cyclone.

The chief of India meteorological department, the national weather bureau, LS Rathore said:

“Bihar faces a risk of heavy flooding from a run-off into its Kosi and Gandak rivers, which originate in Nepal. We have issued a flood warning for Bihar,”

There have been 17 deaths (at the time of writing) reported as a result of the cyclone. Despite this, much of the Indian media is reporting the preparation and reaction to the cyclone as a success. Forecasters received praise from The Hindistan Times:

A precise estimation of the severity of Phailin, along with other parameters, such as wind speeds, by Met scientists helped saved hundreds of thousands people in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, which were along the cyclone’s path when it was most severe.

In one of India’s largest evacuations ever carried out, nearly 1 million people were moved away from the vulnerable areas, sparing India of the widespread deaths many had feared. Over 870,000 people in Odisha were moved, and more than 100,000 in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.

Sources: CBC; Hindustan Times