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Cyclone Warnings Prevent Disaster


Gujarat and parts of Rajasthan were recently devastated by Cyclone Biparjoy, a powerful and incredibly destructive cyclonic cyclone; India successfully lessened the effects of the catastrophe. The IMD’s early warning system worked effectively as there were few casualties despite the obvious infrastructure damage, injuries, and livestock losses.


GS Paper 1: Geographical phenomena – Cyclone

Mains Question

Talk about the value of early warning systems in reducing the effects of natural catastrophes, using cyclones as the main topic. How did the India Meteorological Department’s prompt warnings aid in containing Cyclone Biparjoy’s effects? (150 Words)

How do cyclones work?

  • In the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere, cyclones are huge air masses that revolve anticlockwise and clockwise, respectively, around a powerful centre of low atmospheric pressure.
  • The process through which tropical cyclones form is known as tropical cyclogenesis. Latent heat generated by intense thunderstorm activity gives rise to tropical cyclones, which have a heated core. Between extratropical, subtropical, and tropical phases, cyclones can change.
  • A tropical cyclone is typically referred to as a hurricane in the Atlantic and the northeastern Pacific, a cyclone in the Indian and south Pacific, and a typhoon in the northwestern Pacific.

The Early Warnings:

  • The IMD began to take preventative action on June 8 when they began sharing reports about the cyclone’s direction.
  • IMD updated their early forecasts, indicating that the storm will now swing sharply towards coastal Saurashtra in Gujarat rather than avoiding India.With average wind speeds topping 115 kmph and a “very severe” classification, the IMD’s precise prognosis gave emergency preparations a vital four-day head start.

Evacuation Measures and Preparedness:

  • Making use of the crucial lead time, Gujarat district authorities quickly started the evacuation process. The safe relocation of around 100,000 residents in coastal areas to designated shelters.
  • The railway services took preventive measures by cancelling multiple trains, while fishermen were adequately advised to keep away from the perilous water.
  • Additionally, about 30 central and State disaster relief teams were mobilised, ready to respond to any emergency situations.

Impact and difficulties:

  • Cyclone Biparjoy’s aftermath left 1,092 communities without power. In the Saurashtra-Kutch region, extensive damage was seen, including 5,120 downed power poles, 186 transformers, and 2,502 damaged feeders.
  • Although some businesses have resumed operations, a full restoration to normalcy is still a work in progress.

Lessons Discovered and Future Planning:

  • Recent experience has shown that accurate cyclone predictions and their potential impact are possible within a 36–60 hour range.
  • Precautionary measures, however, have inherent limits because of the nature of coastal infrastructure, ineffective communication networks, and distinctive livelihood patterns.
  • Notably, approximately 3,000 people perished in the terrible cyclone that hit Gujarat in 1998.
  • it is essential to implement and strictly enforce coastal-regulation-zone norms, prescribing appropriate structures at specified distances from the shoreline. Despite the fact that India has made significant progress since then, new threats loom, particularly the projected increase in severe cyclones originating from the Arabian Sea as a result of the effects of global warming. To increase resilience against future disasters, it is essential to strengthen the homes of rural coastal residents and to strengthen natural defences like mangroves in wetlands.

Conclusion: As Cyclone Biparjoy hit Gujarat, India was able to prevent a catastrophic outcome thanks to the timely and accurate warnings provided by the India Meteorological Department. The little loss of life, albeit some unavoidable damage, emphasises the significance of early preparation and efficient communication networks. In order to protect vulnerable coastal regions, a comprehensive strategy that incorporates enhanced forecasting, infrastructure upgrades, and community resilience must be undertaken as climate change continues to present new difficulties.

December 2023