1999 Odisha cyclone

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Odisha cyclone of 1999
Super cyclonic storm (IMD scale)
Category 5 (Saffir–Simpson scale)
Cyclone 05B.jpg
Satellite image of the cyclone as it made landfall in Odisha
Formed October 25, 1999 (1999-10-25)
Dissipated November 3, 1999 (1999-11-04)
Highest winds 3-minute sustained: 260 km/h (160 mph)
1-minute sustained: 260 km/h (160 mph)
Lowest pressure 912 hPa (mbar); 26.93 inHg
(Strongest cyclone in North Indian Ocean in recorded history)
Fatalities ~10,000 direct
Damage $4.5 billion (1999 USD)
Areas affected India, Myanmar
Part of the 1999 North Indian Ocean cyclone season

The Odisha cyclone of 1999, also known as Supercyclone,or Paradip cyclone,[1] was the strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded in the North Indian Ocean. It was also the deadliest tropical cyclone in the Indian Ocean since the 1991 Bangladesh cyclone, and deadliest Indian storm since 1971. The Category 5 storm made landfall just weeks after a Category 4 storm hit the same general area. It was a tropical depression formed over the Malay Peninsula on October 25. It moved to the northwest and became a tropical storm on October 26. It continued to strengthen into a cyclone on October 27. On October 28, it became a severe cyclone with a peak of 160 mph (260 km/h) winds. It hit India the next day as a 155 mph (250 km/h) cyclone. It caused the deaths of about 10,000 people, and heavy to extreme damage in its path of destruction.

Meteorological history[edit]

Map plotting the track and intensity of the storm according to the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale

A tropical disturbance developed in the South China Sea in mid-to-late October. It tracked westward and organized itself enough to have the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) issue a Tropical Cyclone Formation Alert (TCFA) on October 23. But the system failed to organize itself any further in the Pacific, and the TCFA was cancelled. When the system reached the Andaman Sea on October 25, another TCFA was issued. Shortly after, the convective area consolidated, and it became Tropical Depression 5B on October 25 over the Malay Peninsula. The depression tracked northwestward under the influence of the Subtropical ridge to its north. Warm water temperatures and favorable upper level winds allowed further strengthening, and it became Tropical Storm 5B on October 26, 210 miles (345 km) south-southwest of Yangon, Myanmar.[2]

The storm passed to the south of Myanmar and continued to strengthen, and intensified to a cyclone on the 27th in the open Bay of Bengal. On October 28, the cyclone rapidly intensified and reached its peak intensity. The system was the first storm to be given the new meteorological label "super cyclonic storm" by the IMD.[3]

Just prior to its Indian landfall, the cyclone weakened slightly to a 155 mph (250 km/h) cyclone with an estimated minimum central pressure of 912 mbar.[4] On October 29, the cyclone hit the Indian state of Odisha near the city of Bhubaneswar. The ridge to the north blocked further inland movement, and the cyclone stalled about 30 miles (50 km) inland of the ocean. It slowly weakened, maintaining tropical storm strength as it drifted southward. The cyclone re-emerged into the Bay of Bengal on October 31, and dissipated on November 3 over the open waters.[2]


Ten thousand families from the coastal districts of Balasore, Bhadrak, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Puri, Ganjam and Jajpur were forced to evacuate their homes before the storm's arrival. More than 44,500 people took shelter in twenty three Red Cross cyclone shelters. [1].[5] Cuttack and Khorda further inland were also severely affected.[4]

Impact and records[edit]

05B with winds of 155 mph (250 km/h)

The cyclone dumped heavy torrential rain over southeast India, causing record breaking flooding in the low-lying areas.[2] The storm surge was 26 feet (8 meters).[6] It struck the coast of Odisha, traveling up to 20 km inland.[5] 17,110 km² (6,600 mi²) of crops were destroyed,[7] and an additional 90 million trees were either uprooted or had snapped.[8]

Approximately 275,000 homes were destroyed,[7] leaving 1.67 million people homeless.[8] Another 19.5 million people were affected by the supercyclone to some degree.[8] A total of 9,803 people officially died from the storm, with 40 others still missing,[2] though estimates of the dead and missing have been as high as 15,000.[9] 8,119 of those fatalities were from the Jagatsinghpur district. Another 3,312 people were injured. 2,043 out of 5,700, or 36% of the residents of Padmapur perished.[6] The number of domestic animals fatalities was around 2.5 million,[8] though the number of livestock that perished in the cyclone amounted to only 406,000.[2] The high number of domestic animal deaths may have possibly had to do with around 5 million farmers losing their livelihood. The damage across fourteen districts in India[8] resulted from the storm was approximately $4.5 billion (1999 USD, $5.1 billion 2005 USD).[4]

Ten people in Myanmar were reported to have been killed by the tropical cyclone, while another 20,000 families were left homeless.[10]

When Cyclone 05B reached its peak intensity of 912 mb, it became the most intense tropical cyclone of the North Indian basin.


Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) immediately responded with emergency relief,[5] as did BAPS Charities.[8] The Odisha state branch extended the emergency relief phase to a three-month relief operation and a six-month rehabilitation program with the help of the Federation. The overall humanitarian response spanned well into the late 2000. The Odisha State Branch (OSB) immediately shipped emergency buffer stocks from the Indian Red Cross headquarters in New Delhi.[5] BAPS Charities dispatched about 2,340 volunteers to 84 villages greatly affected by the storm. BAPS Charities also cremated 700 bodies and buried 3,500 cattle carcasses because many people were superstitious about touching the dead bodies of those they did not know. Three villages were "adopted" by BAPS Charities in January 2000 to rebuild, Chakulia, Banipat, and Potak, all in Jagatsinghpur. A total of 200 concrete homes were constructed, as well as two concrete schools and two village tube-wells. The project was finally completed in May 2002, two and a half years after the cyclone hit.[8] As of October 30, 1999, 50,000 people were evacuated from low-lying flooded areas on the coast of the Ganjam and Jagatsinghpur districts. More people on the coast of Paradeep were evacuated by the Odisha Government.

The Federation withdrew 200,000 CHF from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund to send to India, but the Indian Government refused the money, saying the cyclone was not a national disaster.[5]

Many people died of starvation and diseases after the storm.[11]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]