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Cyclone Gulab: A Rose with Thorns

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On 25th September 2021, between 7.30-8.30 pm, a storm called, Cyclone Gulab, made landfall over the Odisha-Andhra Pradesh coasts, about 20 km north of Kalingapatnam. It was confirmed by the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

The cyclone is an intriguing case study for every weather enthusiast. Although the Bay of Bengal was emerging as a low-pressure area, the sixth monsoon of September outperformed expectations and intensified quickly into a cyclonic storm. Subsequently, it weakened into a deep depression as it moved westwards towards Chhattisgarh.

effects of cyclone gulab
Image Source: HMTV

All about Cyclone Gulab

  1. Cyclone Gulab is the third cyclone of the 21st century. It made its landfall over the east coast in September. The previous tropical cyclone was Daye in 2018. And the first was Pyarr in 2005. In the satellite era from 1975 onwards, six tropical cyclones have formed over the Bay of Bengal in September. It is the highest for any monsoon month.
  2. The system was first noted as a low-pressure area on the morning of 24th September, 2021. By evening, it had intensified into a depression. Moderate heat energy over the Bay of Bengal, favourable transitional phase of the Madden–Julian oscillation and weaker southwesterly winds resulted in the rapid intensification of the system. By the night of 25th September, 2021, the system had attained the strength of a cyclonic storm.
  3. Cyclone Gulab is moving in the westward direction. Moreover, it is weakening continuously. A cyclone starts to lose strength immediately after landfall. The reason being the absence of heat and moisture in the land which feeds the cyclone.
  4. The remnants of Cyclone Gulab reached Maharashtra on the morning of 28th September, 2021. IMD has warned about heavy rains in many parts of Maharashtra for the next two days. Although the floods do not have a serious effect till now, 4 people went missing as a bus swept away. Additionally, no complaints of waterlogging are registered and public transportation, subways and trains remain unaffected.
  5. A much more significant threat associated with Cyclone Gulab is the extremely heavy rainfall that has dumped across the central belt of India. As a result, it has brought torrential downpours of over 200 mm across isolated places of South Odisha and North Andhra Pradesh.
  6. Gulab is likely to move towards Ahmedabad in Gujarat. After that, the heat and moisture from the Arabian Sea are likely to concentrate the system further as it moves away from India.
  7. The maximum sustained speed of Gulab was 75 to 85 kmph, gusting to 95 kmph during landfall. Previously, Super Cyclone Amphan had attained a terrifying speed of 240 kmph during its peak. Compared to the cyclones and super cyclones in the past, this is a much milder storm in terms of wind speed.
  8. Every Hindi and Urdu speaker would understand that the word ‘Gulab’ (pronounced as Gul-Aab) means Rose. And Pakistan, not India, proposed this name! Similarly, the previous cyclone that hit the east coast of India, Cyclone Yaas, was named as per the proposal from Oman.
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