Kendrapara, May 2 (LocalWire): ‘Odisha faced pre-monsoon cyclones (April to May) only 12 times out of the 134 that hurled at its coast since 1804, including Fani, which is waiting to hit the state on 3 May,’ Uma Charan Mohanty, former professor of Centre for Atmospheric Sciences, IIT Delhi and visiting professor of IIT Bhubaneswar, said.
‘On 27 May 1823, a cyclonic storm inundated around 10 kilometre-long area from the coast in Balasore district. In May 1834 and on 27 April 1840, Odisha again faced a severe cyclone.
In April 1850, hundreds of people were killed in the cyclone at False Point (now in Kendrapara district) to Midnapore (now in West Bengal). Again on 26 May 1887, a cyclone hit False Point to Sagar Island (Now in West Bengal).
On 23 May 1893, Balasore, Puri and Cuttack districts faced a severe cyclone. On May 13, 1910, a cyclone hit Gopalpur coast.
In May 1914, May 1917 and May 1982 Odisha was hit by cyclones. On 23, May 1989 Balasore district faced a cyclone during the pre-monsoons,’ said Mohanty.
‘After the British East India Company conquered Orisha (now Odisha) in October 1803, the problems that the administration faced were not political but how to deal with natural disasters particularly cyclones, which seemed to occur almost every year.
‘Descriptive cyclone and surge data are available for Odisha in the 19th and 20th centuries and instrumentally observed data is available since 1875 when the India Meteorological Department was established.
‘During our study on the history of cyclones in Odisha, we used two different databases which have some overlap.
The first one is the cyclone database of the IMD which covers the period from 1877 till today and prior to this, from 1804 to 1875, information on cyclones in Odisha was provided by the British East India Company.
‘With the advent of remote sensing techniques through weather satellites the quality of data as well as the geographical coverage improved substantially since 1960s,’ added Mohanty.
Fani, the severe pre-monsoon cyclone is heading towards Odisha due to climate change and global warming.
One of the reasons for the formation of this cyclonic storm is 31 degrees Celsius in the sea. Climate change due to natural causes has a profound effect on cyclone tracks, said Sarat Chandra Sahoo, the former director of Indian Meteorological Centre, Bhubaneswar.