• Thursday, Dec 01, 2022
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

Cyclone signals and what they really mean

  • Published at 05:51 pm May 19th, 2020
Maritime ports asked to hoist signal 3
Flags hoisted for warning signal Collected

These signals are announced based on the mode of the cyclone measuring intensity and velocity of the wind

The Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD or Met) uses 11 warning signals during cyclones in order to alert people, and for the government to prepare and take measures for an incoming storm to minimize damage. 

These signals are announced based on the mode of the cyclone measuring intensity and velocity of the wind. 

The met office has already asked the Chittagong and Cox's Bazar port authorities to hoist signal number six, while Mongla and Payra port authorities were asked to hoist signal number seven, which means those ports will experience a severe storm.

However, the Disaster Management and Relief Ministry said signal no 10 would be hoisted at these ports from 6am today.

If the direction of the storm towards Bangladesh persists with more than 100kmph, the Met office will declare a great danger signal.

It said that Cyclone Amphan is feared to be very powerful, equal in intensity with the cyclones of 1991, 1999, and 1970 in Bangladesh.

It is categorized as an “Extremely Severe Cyclone.”

According to the latest bulletin released at around 3pm on Tuesday by the Bangladesh meteorological department (BMD), the maximum sustained wind speed within 85km of the cyclone centre is about 200kph, rising to 220kph in gusts and squalls.

The Amphan had earlier turned into a super cyclone located 845km southwest of Chittagong port, 795km southwest of Cox’s bazar port, 730km south-southwest of Mongla port, and 725km south-southwest of Payra port.

Measuring the wind speed, weathermen fear that it could be as devastating as Sidr and Aila, if it does not weaken before hitting the coast.

“Compared with previous cyclones like Sidr and Aila, it seems more severe in terms of wind speed in the center of the cyclone,” said Monowar Hossain, meteorologist of BMD.

On 15 November 2007, Cyclone Sidr with wind speeds of up to 260 km/hour made landfall in southern Bangladesh, causing over 3,500 deaths and severe damage.

However, Bangladesh has already gained the capacity of tackling such disasters. That is why last year Cyclone Fani hit with 180kmh wind speed, nearly as severe as Cyclone Sidr in 2007, but casualties being 17.

The authorities were able to evacuate more than 2 million people to shelters before cyclones Fani and Bulbul made landfall. However, both the cyclones mostly hit West Bengal and Orissa.

Similarly, this time, the government has already kept the most vulnerable people in the shelters.

Amphan is likely to make landfall in Bangladesh tomorrow with maximum sustained wind speed of 155-165kmph, with gusts of up to 185kmh. It is likely to make landfall as a strong storm equivalent to a category 3 hurricane, according to the Indian Meteorological Department.

Amphan is a Thai word meaning ambition or strength. In its special bulletin, the Met office said the cyclone may intensify further and might cross the Bangladesh coast between Khulna and Chittagong early today, which could, however, be delayed till this evening.

The seas will remain very high near the eye of the cyclone, the bulletin said.

The coastal districts of Satkhira, Khulna, Bagerhat, Jhalakathi, Pirojpur, Barguna, Patuakhali, Bhola, Barisal, Laxmipur, Chandpur, Noakhali, Feni, Chattogram and their offshore islands and chars will suffer the worst of the storm, while the low-lying areas of those districts could be inundated.

All fishing boats have been asked to take immediate shelter until further notice.

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