Cyclone Biparjoy made landfall on the Indian coast, causing widespread concern and leading to evacuations. However, it started to weaken in the early hours of Friday as it moved north.
Indian meteorologists had predicted that Biparjoy, whose name means “disaster” in Bengali, would have devastating impacts on homes and power lines in the western state of Gujarat.
According to the latest bulletin from the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), the “very severe cyclonic storm” made landfall near Jakhau Port on Thursday evening but began to weaken and had wind speeds of 100 kilometers (62 miles) per hour with gusts up to 110 km/h by 2:30 am on Friday.
“It would move northeastwards and weaken into a cyclonic storm by early morning of the 16th (of) June,” the bulletin stated.
Earlier predictions suggested that the cyclone would move into Pakistan’s Sindh province, specifically the port city of Karachi.
Jayantha Bhai, a shopkeeper in the coastal town of Mandvi in Gujarat, expressed his fears for his family’s safety. He said he had never experienced a cyclone before and planned to wait it out in his small concrete home.
Around 94,000 people were relocated from coastal and low-lying areas in Gujarat, according to the state government. Pakistan’s climate change minister Sherry Rehman stated that approximately 82,000 people had been moved from southeastern coastal areas, facing a cyclone unlike any experienced before in the country.
As the cyclone approached, low-lying roads started to flood and gusting winds reduced visibility. Stores closed, and people rushed to buy essential supplies.
Meteorologists in India warned of potential widespread damage, including crop destruction, power outages, and disruption of transportation. The cyclone surge was expected to reach four meters (13 feet), posing a flooding threat to Karachi.
The areas affected by the cyclone were also hit hard by last year’s monsoon floods, causing significant damage and loss of life. Pakistan’s climate change minister attributed these extreme weather events to climate change.
In anticipation of the cyclone, approximately 200 people sought shelter in a health center in Kutch district, leaving their farm animals behind. Dhal Jetheeben Ladhaji, a pharmacist at the health center, expressed his fear for what might come next.
Severe cyclones are a regular occurrence in the northern Indian Ocean, and scientists have warned that they are becoming stronger due to climate change.
© 2023 AFP
‘Disaster’ Cyclone Biparjoy weakens after ramming India’s coast (2023, June 16)
retrieved 16 June 2023
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