Jakhau port in Gujarat’s Kutch district witnesses the commencement of Cyclone Biparjoy’s landfall process, according to the latest bulletin released by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD). The cyclone is expected to continue its landfall until midnight as it traverses Saurashtra & Kutch, with its path extending towards the coasts adjoining Pakistan, specifically between Mandvi (Gujarat) and Karachi (Pakistan) by tonight.
In preparation for the cyclone’s arrival, the Gujarat government has taken proactive measures by relocating over 94,000 residents from eight coastal districts to temporary shelters. Prohibitory orders have been issued, public transport has been suspended, and citizens have been advised to remain indoors for their safety.
To mitigate potential risks and provide immediate assistance, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) have each deployed two teams in Gujarat. Additionally, the Army and Indian Air Force have been placed on standby, ready to respond as needed.
What is the significance of a cyclone’s “landfall”?
Landfall refers to the critical event when a tropical cyclone moves from water onto land. The IMD defines landfall as the moment when the center of the storm, known as the eye, crosses the coastline. It is essential to distinguish landfall from a “direct hit,” which occurs when the core of high winds (or eyewall) reaches the shore while the center of the storm remains offshore. Notably, even if landfall does not occur, the cyclone’s strongest winds can still impact land due to their location away from the storm’s center, as explained by the United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
What kind of damage can be expected from a cyclone’s landfall?
The extent of damage caused by a cyclone’s landfall depends on the severity of the storm, primarily determined by the wind speed. Cyclone Biparjoy, classified as a “very severe cyclonic storm” by the IMD, has the potential to cause extensive destruction to kutcha houses, partial disruption of power and communication lines, and minor disturbances in rail and road traffic. The cyclone poses a possible threat from flying debris and may lead to the flooding of escape routes. These damaging effects are a result of the extremely strong winds, heavy rainfall, and storm surge, which can cause devastating floods along the coast.
How long does a landfall last?
The duration of a landfall can vary, influenced by the speed of the winds and the size of the storm system. It is anticipated that Cyclone Biparjoy’s landfall process will last approximately five to six hours, followed by a gradual dissipation of the cyclone over the next 24 hours. When tropical cyclones move over land, they lose intensity due to a reduction in moisture supply and increased surface friction. Consequently, while landfalls often inflict severe devastation, they also mark the beginning of the cyclone’s decline.
As Cyclone Biparjoy continues its landfall, Gujarat remains on high alert, with authorities and response teams working diligently to minimize the potential impact on lives and infrastructure.