Cyclone Jal

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Severe Cyclonic Storm Jal
Severe cyclonic storm (IMD scale)
Category 1 (Saffir–Simpson scale)
Severe Cyclonic Storm Jal 2010-11-07 0530Z.jpg
Severe Cyclonic Storm Jal near Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, at peak intensity on November 7
Formed November 1, 2010
Dissipated November 12, 2010
(Remnant low after November 8)
Highest winds 3-minute sustained: 110 km/h (70 mph)
1-minute sustained: 120 km/h (75 mph)
Lowest pressure 988 hPa (mbar); 29.18 inHg
Fatalities at least 118 dead, 12 missing
Damage $1.73 billion (2010 USD)
Areas affected Malaysia, Malay Peninsula, Sri Lanka, India
Part of the 2010 North Indian Ocean cyclone season

Severe Cyclonic Storm Jal was the fifth named cyclonic storm and the fourth Severe Cyclonic Storm of the 2010 North Indian Ocean cyclone season. Jal developed from a low pressure area in the South China Sea that organized into a Tropical Depression on October 28. Jal is a Sanskrit word, meaning water. At least 54 people are known to have been killed in India.[1] As a tropical depression, Jal produced torrential rains over parts of Thailand and Malaysia, triggering severe flooding which killed 59 and four people in the two countries respectively.[2] In Sri Lanka, heavy rainfall with strong winds have caused flooding affecting around 80,000 people. In Thailand, Jal was responsible for 78 deaths, being the 4th deadliest tropical cyclone in the country.[3]

Meteorological history[edit]

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

On October 12, a weak tropical disturbance formed within a monsoonal trough of low pressure in the South China Sea, just off the eastern coast of Borneo.[4] For the next few weeks, the system stalled on the eastern coast of Bormeo, remaining disorganized, while the system barely affected the island of Borneo at all. During the last week of October, the storm detached from the moonsonal trough, and began slowly moving east. On October 29, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) both reported that the system had begun to develop, already beginning to organize itself, about 550 km (340 mi), to the southeast of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. During the next few days, the tropical depression strengthened slowly as it slowly moved towards the eastern border of the Indian Ocean. During this time, convection around the disturbance increased, but failed to organize around the storm's low level circulation center. Despite these unfavorable conditions, the storm managed to develop convection around its area of low pressure, and organized itself significantly. On October 31, the Thai and Malaysian meteorological departments (TMD) reported that the disturbance had developed into a tropical depression, and initiated advisories on the system. From October 31 continuing into November 1, the storm strengthened slightly as it continued moving towards the Indian Ocean, but not enough for it to become a tropical storm. Late on November 1, the tropical depression crossed the Malay Peninsula, and entered the extreme eastern part of the Indian Ocean, causing the west Pacific agencies to cancel all their advisories on the storm, as it was no longer in the west Pacific Ocean. As soon as the system entered the extreme eastern border of the Indian Ocean, the India Meteorological Agency (IMD) immediately declared the storm a depression, and began issuing advisories on the system, because the system had already organized itself into a tropical depression in the west Pacific Ocean, on October 31, which was a day before the system entered the IMD's area of responsibility.[5] Later on November 1, the system began showing signs of further, but slow organization, as the system continued moving west slowly.[6] Early on November 2, the Malaysian Meteorological Department (MMD) also issued their first advisory on the system, and the IMD simply called it Depression, becausing the storm had not yet entered the Bay of Bengal.[7] Later on that day, the IMD reported that the system had weakened into an area of low pressure, due to the effects of crossing the Malay Peninsula, but they forecast it to become a depression soon again, as the storm was moving over warm water.[8] Late on November 3, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) issued a tropical cyclone formation alert on the system, as it began reorganizing itself.[9] Early on November 4, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) upgraded the area of low pressure to a depression again, this time giving it the designation "BOB 05," as the system had now entered the Bay of Bengal.[10] On November 5, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) designated the system as Tropical Cyclone 05B.[11]

Early on November 6, the IMD upgraded Depression BOB 05 to a deep depression.[12] Later, the deep depression strengthened further, prompting the IMD to upgrade it to a cyclonic storm, and was named "Jal".[13] The storm continued to grow and became a severe cyclonic storm by November 6.[14] Soon afterward, it was upgraded to a Category 1 Tropical Cyclone by the JTWC.[15] On November 7, Jal started weakening.[16] Soon afterward, the IMD reported that Jal weakened into a Cyclonic Storm.[17] Later that day, the JTWC downgraded Jal into a Tropical storm.[18] Late on the same day, the IMD reported that the storm weakened into a Deep Depression.[19] As a deep depression, the system made landfall at Chennai, a few hours later.[20] The system continued to weaken and became a depression by early hours of November 8.[21] The depression continued to weaken until it dissipated into a remnant low on the same day.[22] While on that very same day the IMD said that there is a possibility of re-strengthening of Jal's remnants over north east Arabian sea.[23] And as the IMD said, the system moved into the Arabian Sea without weakening by early November 9.[24] But instead of moving across the Arabian Sea, the depression moved north along the western coast of India, restrengthening slightly, but not enough for it to regenerate. Within a few hours, the storm started moving inland, due to the prevailing winds. The system rapidly weakened as it moved farther inland over the next few days, causing severe flooding along the way. Early on November 12, the remnants of Cyclone Jal were completely absorbed by a non-tropical low over the Himalayas.

Preparations and impact[edit]

Death toll
Malaysia 4[2]
Thailand 59[citation needed]
India 55[1][25]
Total 118
Note: Total as of November 12, 2010
Cyclone Jal as a tropical depression, late on November 1, in the middle of crossing the Malay Peninsula

Thailand[edit]

When Jal was just a low pressure area, it hit Thailand and strengthened into a depression. As a result, heavy to very heavy rains battered the country causing extensive flooding and claimed 59 lives.

The government of Thailand estimated the total damage to be around US$1.676 billion.[26]

An Armed Forces helicopter delivering supplies to Hat Yai Hospital. Critical patients had to be transferred by helicopter to Songklanagarin Hospital after emergency power supplies failed.

Restoration work has begun to revive the regionally vital Hat Yai commercial district in Thailand's southern province of Songkhla after heavy flooding has receded and local residents gradually are coming out to receive relief packages and buy fresh food supplies. Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) governor Narongsak Kamales said some parts of Hat Yai started to have electricity since 9pm last night but he warned the residents to carefully check the electrical system before turn on any switch.[27] Law and order have been largely maintained, with constant patrols by police and volunteers, but minor looting was reported and caught on camera after a few similar incidents took place earlier. The Prince of Songkhla University compound has been packed with people seeking help during the crisis, as it served as both a rally and a pick-up point for relief supplies, and its hospital as a medical service centre.[28]

Rail service to the region was partially restored Thursday morning and the airport on Samui island, a popular tourist destination in the Gulf of Thailand, reopened after a temporary shutdown caused by a submerged runway.[29] On the bright side, the research centre predicted the floods would bring seed money back into the economic system as the government would earmark relief funds for flood victims and rehabilitation of the flooded areas.[30] In Hat Yai, many residents were caught off-guard by the flash flood despite evacuation warnings, suggesting either that the cautions were unheard or simply ignored. Urban planning, national irrigation strategies and flood control systems also need a drastic rethink, particularly when one considers the future threat that climate change and rising sea levels will have on Bangkok and other populated coastal areas in the years to come.[31]

The Thai community in Brunei has been urged to provide humanitarian relief to the victims of the flood-affected areas back home. Thawat, the Acting Ambassador of Thai Embassy said that the donations can be given in the form of money or goods such as clothing.[32] As the water level in many areas, including Hat Yai district of Songkhla, has receded significantly and Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has already handed out the first lot of 5,000-baht cash aid to flood-affected families in the Northeast as an initial compensation amount from the government, it remains to be seen if families who suffered casualties will receive compensation from the Fund for Disaster Victims as promised.[33] The Cabinet assigned state agencies to help people affected by the floods and advance payments of over Bt100 million was endorsed to aid people affected by floods in Nakhon Ratchasima and Lop Buri.[34]

Private citizens were on the forefront, soliciting donations from other members of the public, rushing aidsto flood-strucken areas and distributing relief packages to flood victims.[35] The opposition Puea Thai Party on Friday petitioned the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) to take legal action against Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, claiming he acted too slowly to counter the effects from the recent flooding, resulting in massive damage to property and many deaths. The petition filed by Puea Thai spokesman Prompong Nopparit accuses the prime minister of malfeasance in violation of Article 157 of the Criminal Code. Mr Prompong said the prime minister has the administrative power to ensure swift action to prevent and mitigate effects from flooding under Article 4 of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Act of 2007, but had not properly exercised his authority.[36] The Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress thanked and expressed his concern toward the flood situation in Thailand, which was the worst flood in 50 years, with 50 provinces affected. The Chinese government intends to provide humanitarian aid and has granted 10 million yuan for the flooded area’s restoration.[37] U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday extended her condolences for the loss of life and damage caused by severe flooding throughout Thailand, pledging additional help when needed. Clinton said in a statement that the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok has offered immediate disaster relief assistance following the flooding, and is "working closely" with the Thai government to provide additional help if needed.[38]

Malaysia[edit]

As a tropical depression, Jal produced substantial rainfall over parts of northern Malaysia,[39] triggering severe flooding which killed at least four people. Nearly 50,000 people were forced to leave their homes due to rising flood waters. The severity of damage also prompted the closure of an airport and the regions major highway.[2]

The floods affected transportation in and around Kedah and Perlis, shutting down rail and closing roads including the North–South Expressway.[40] Alor Setar's Sultan Abdul Halim Airport was also closed after its runway was flooded, leaving helicopters as the only mode of aerial transport into Kedah and Perlis.[41] The floods also contaminated water supply in Kedah and Perlis, forcing the states to receive supplies from the neighbouring state of Perak.[42]

Rice production, a key industry in Kedah and Perlis, was badly affected by the floods. According to the federal government, over 45,000 hectares of rice fields were damaged in Kedah alone. The government pledged 26 million ringgit in aid to farmers in both states.[43] In Perlis, the floods submerged over two-thirds of the state's land in water.[44] The north-eastern state of Kelantan was also affected by the floods, causing the closure of some schools.[45]

The floods triggered immediate political fallout. The Federal Minister for Housing and Local Government and Alor Setar MP Chor Chee Heung criticised the Kedah State government (led by the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, an opponent of Chor's Barisan Nasional coalition) for what he considered a slow response to the floods and the government's inexperience. Chor's own home in Alor Setar was flooded.[46][47] Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin claimed the State government had a responsibility to assist victims of the flood.[48] Kedah's Chief Minister Azizan argued that his government's response had been "quick" and that 300,000 ringgit in aid had been committed to the affected areas.[44] Kedah's Sultan Abdul Halim called publicly for politics to be set aside for the purposes of dealing with the floods.[49]

India[edit]

A map showing the total rainfall from Cyclone Jal in India

A cyclone warning was issued to the east Indian coasts which were already hit by a strong monsoonal trough that caused severe flooding and killed hundreds of people displacing many more. Storm warning signals were hoisted in Ganjam and Jagatsinghpur districts of Orissa.[50] Over 70,000 people evacuated from four districts of Andhra Pradesh, the authorities provided shelter in relief camps across interior Andhra Pradesh.[51] Five teams of 40–50 rescuers arrived at the low lying, already flooded areas in Andhra Pradesh where the impact of the system was expected to be worse.[52]

As the cyclone neared landfall, heavy rainfall caused mudslides and flooding. On November 9, The Andhra Pradesh chief minister Konijeti Rosaiah said that about 54 have died in India due to the storm.[1] The National Disaster Response Force at Arakkonam in Tamil Nadu shifted their personnel to Nellore in order to supervise the rescue and relief operations.[53]

The remnants of former Cyclone Jal (05B), over Gujarat, India, on November 10

Over 16 flights scheduled to land at Chennai were diverted to Bangalore because of poor visibility.[54] It was reported that around 300 thousand hectares of cropland was devastated by the cyclone.[55] Power outages occurred at many places in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh throughout Sunday.[56] The Indian government said that they would be giving twenty kilograms of rice and five litres of kerosene to each family in flood-affected areas. They would also give Indian Rupee symbol.svg 2 lakhs to the families of the victims.[57] The total damage estimated by the Indian government was US$53.55 million with Visakhapatnam district suffering a damage of US$18.53 million, Nellore district suffering a damage of US$22.59 million and Prakasam district suffering a damage of US$12.43 million.[58][59] Coastal and interior areas of Karnataka too faced heavy rains due to the cyclone. One person was killed in Chennai, Tamil Nadu when a tree toppled.[25]

As the remnants of Jal continued to move northwest, they brought light to moderate spells of rain in India's warmest state of Rajasthan. Later on, light to moderate spells of rain also battered the state of Gujarat.[60]

Sri Lanka[edit]

Cyclone Jal was about 400 km away from Trincomalee, but it moved towards South India to make a landfall there. However, heavy rainfall with strong winds and rough sea conditions were warned by the Sri Lankan Meteorological Department.[61]

After the dissipation of Cyclone Jal over western India on November 8, heavy thundershowers occurred in almost all parts of Sri lanka on 10 November, and by 08:30 am 11 November Colombo had received a rainfall of 443 mm within the previous 24 hours. It was the highest rainfall Colombo had received in a day after 18 years. Many of the lowlands in and around Colombo were flooded. Officials announced that around 80,000 people were affected by the floods in Colombo district. Navy boats and Air Force helicopters were also summoned for relief activities.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]