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As Cyclone Fani Makes Landfall in Puri, Here's What it Really Means

Cyclone Fani made landfall in the coastal parts of the state earlier on Friday, which was accompanied by strong winds, lashing rain and rising sea waves.


Updated:May 3, 2019, 10:25 AM IST
As Cyclone Fani Makes Landfall in Puri, Here's What it Really Means
In this satellite image acquired from the Indian Metrological Department, shows Cyclone Fani in the Bay of Bengal. (Image: Indian Metrological Department via AP)

New Delhi: Odisha is in the midst of yet another super cyclone, named Fani. Around 10,000 villages and more than 50 towns on the path of the super cyclone have been evacuated.

The cyclone made a landfall in the coastal parts of the state earlier on Friday.

Here is what a landfall means.

A Landfall is the intersection of the center of a tropical cyclone with a coastline, according to the US National Hurricane Center. Typically, in strong tropical cyclones, a landfall occurs when the eye of the cyclone moves over land.

What's interesting is that the eye itself may not be as dangerous as the dreaded 'eyewall'. "The eyewall is a ring of horrific thunderstorms surrounding the eye, and it's the eyewall we have to be scared of. And if a storm makes landfall, we're going to have to deal with the eyewall," says an article on Popular Science's website.

A landfall is often accompanied by strong winds, lashing rain and rising sea waves that could endanger people and cause damage to property in land.

On the positive side, when a hurricane - or a cyclone or a typhoon - hits land, it starts to lose speed and energy as it loses its source of both from the warm ocean waters, says the US National Ocean Service. Therefore, the further the hurricane gets over land, the faster the storm ebbs.

Interestingly, hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons are all the same weather phenomenon. They are called by different names in different places. In the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific, the term 'hurricane' is used. In the Northwest Pacific, it is called a 'typhoon' and in the Southern Pacific and the Indian Ocean, it is called a 'cyclone'.

A cyclone typically comes over land with exceptionally strong wind and heavy rainfall. Typically, if the eye of the cyclone stays on top of warm water, the hurricane keeps to its full strength. Once the eye moves over land, the cyclone rapidly dissipates, according to hurricanescience.org

When the cyclone approaches land, the outer edges start incorporating the air over the land. This air - often cooler and drier than the one propelling the cyclone - moves inward toward the eye of the cyclone, as hurricane science describes it. This creates pockets of convergence of the two gusts of air - the warm and wet and the cool and dry - which then leads to phenomena like thunderstorms and tornadoes.

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| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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