Cyclone Fani, which hit Odisha on May 3, was the most intense cyclonic storm crossing the state coast during “pre-monsoon season” in the satellite era (since 1965), the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in a report on Monday while flagging how increased forecast accuracy and effectiveness of early warning system minimised loss of lives.
The last extremely severe cyclonic storm to develop and cross Odisha coast in May-June (pre-monsoon season) was the 1982 cyclone which crossed the coast between Paradip and Chandbali during midnight of June 3.
IMD’s summary report on Fani, shared with the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), also mentioned about its effective alert dissemination mechanism which saw delivery of over 6 million SMS (short text messages) to the general public, disaster managers, farmers and fishermen in Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal ahead of the landfall of Fani.
The report showed that the country’s national weather forecaster had, in fact, started tracking and predicting ‘Fani’ from April 18, 15 days ahead of its landfall.
Its chart on ‘landfall forecast errors’ indicated how IMD reduced the margin of errors – both in predicting landfall point and landfall timing – in 2019 as compared to the long period average of 2014-18 period.
Citing examples, the report noted that IMD’s ‘landfall time forecast error’ for 24 hours’ lead period for Fani reduced to 1.5 hours from 3 hours during 2014-18 period.