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Sunday, May 05th, 2019, 20:00 CEST

Tropical Cyclone FANI

India, Bangladesh

May 02nd-05th , 2019

Satellite image (visible) from MAY 02th, 2019
Source: NASA Worldview

FANI was the second named Storm of the 2019 Nort Indian Ocean cyclone Season. Originating from a tropical depression formed on 26 April, FANI reached peak intensitiy on 02 May and made landfall in Odisha (IN) as an extremely severe cyclonic Strom (short: ESCS) on 03 May. The highest measured mean wind was 159 kph in Digha. The highest recorded 24 h precipitation was 276 mm in Cherrapunji.

Evolution of FANI

FANI formed on 26 and 27 April from the tropical depression BOB 02. The JTWC classified the storm on 29 April as a Category 1 cyclone. Due to low vertical wind shear and high sea surface temperatures of 30-31°C, the system intensified. On the evening of 30 April the storm reached category 3 of the Tropical Cyclone Intensity Scale. After a rather quiet phase until 02 May, FANI started another period of rapid intensification. A few hours before landfall the storm reached its peak intensity with 1-minute sustained winds of 250 kph. The landfall at 02:30 UTC took place as extremely severe cyclonic storm (equivalent to Category 4 cyclone) in the state of Odisha. Due to land interaction, the wind velocities decreased rapidly from that point. FANI moved further northeast an was demoted to a depression on 04 May. Nonetheless, it still caused heavy precipitation in India and even Bangladesh after its landfall.

FANIs Trajectory from 26 Apr to 04 May: Background image from NASA Worldview, tracking data from NOAA

FANIs development over the Bay of Bengal as seen from geostationary satellite GOMS.

Satellite images of FANIs development from 25 Apr to 04 May (one picture per day at 06 UTC): Dundee Satellite Recieving Station

Cloud and rain formation

Timelapse of FANI right before its landfall (satellite image with thermal overlay). Very cold cloud tops visible, especially east west of the eye, indicating a large C-shaped central dense overcast (short: CDO) around the storm's eye.

data source: Eumetsat

As indicated in the thermal overlay above, most intense precipitation occurred west of the eye. After FANI made landfall, precipation almost exclusivly occured on the western half of the storm. Whereas west of the eye, mountains of up to 1500 m height in the Indian states of Odisha and West Bengal as well as in Bangladesh provided heavy orographic precipitation of up to 279 mm/24h.

Satellite images (infrared) with precipitation from 03 May 00 UTC to 18 UTC: Eumetsat Eumetview

Measurements and Aftermath

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center indicated 3-minute mean winds of up to 185 kph for FANI. The highest measured 10-minute mean winds were recorded by the station Digha on May 3 at 06 UTC, i.e. a few hours after land fall, with 159 kph. In the city of Cuttack (600,000 inhabitants) 128 mm precipitation were measured from 03 May 03 UTC to 04 May 03 UTC.
Because of the storm, many ports on the east coast of India remained closed. There was damage to the power grid and restrictions on air traffic. Masts were overturned, roofs were ripped off or houses completely destroyed and cars whirled around. Intense rain led to floodings and landslides. At least 35 people were killed.

Location Highest 24 h
precipitation in mm
05.05.2019, 03 UTC
03.05.2019, 03 UTC
04.05.2019, 03 UTC
04.05.2019, 03 UTC
05.05.2019, 03 UTC
04.05.2019, 03 UTC
03.05.2019, 03 UTC
04.05.2019, 03 UTC
Location Highest 10-min.
mean winds in kph
03.05.2019, 06 UTC
03.05.2019, 05 UTC
03.05.2019, 09 UTC
03.05.2019, 03 UTC
03.05.2019, 12 UTC
03.05.2019, 03 UTC

Data source: Ogimet

Cars whirled around due to heavy winds (left) and falling crane (right). Source: Severe Weather Europe

Text: FS
May 05th, 2019

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