Cyclone Phet

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Very Severe Cyclonic Storm Phet
Very severe cyclonic storm (IMD scale)
Category 4 (Saffir–Simpson scale)
Phet 2010-06-02 0655Z.jpg
Cyclone Phet on June 2, near peak intensity
Formed May 30, 2010
Dissipated June 7, 2010
Highest winds 3-minute sustained: 155 km/h (100 mph)
1-minute sustained: 230 km/h (145 mph)
Lowest pressure 970 hPa (mbar); 28.64 inHg
Fatalities 44 total
Damage $780 million (2010 USD)
Areas affected Oman, Pakistan, India
Part of the 2010 North Indian Ocean cyclone season

Cyclone Phet (IMD designation: ARB 02, JTWC designation: 03A, also known as Very Severe Cyclonic Storm Phet) was the third named cyclone of the 2010 North Indian Ocean cyclone season and powerful tropical cyclone. Phet developed from a low pressure area in the Arabian Sea that organized into a tropical cyclone on May 31. It initially moved to the northwest but later turned northwards before making landfall in the Oman Desert on June 4 at peak intensity. Weakening, it then shifted direction and headed northeast and made landfall as a deep depression at Thatta, Pakistan on the evening of June 6.[1] Phet is a Thai word meaning Diamond. Damage from Phet in Oman was estimated to have exceeded $780 million.[2]

Meteorological history[edit]

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) described Phet as having "the rarest of the rare track with two landfall points over Oman and Pakistan, and [the] longest track in recent years".[3]

Toward the end of May 2010, a surge in the monsoon produced widespread convection, or thunderstorms, off the southwest coast of India in the southeastern Arabian Sea. After a low-level circulation became evident on May 30, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) designated the system as a low pressure area. The low moved northwestward within an area of warm water temperatures of 30 to 32 °C (86 to 90 °F), moderate wind shear, and an upper-level environment conducive for tropical cyclogenesis,[3] The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) first noted the system on May 30 as an area of potential development.[4] The circulation became more defined within the building convection, which was amplified by outflow from an anticyclone over the northern Arabian Sea.[5] At 03:00 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) on May 31, the IMD designated the system as a depression about 1,000 km (620 mi) west-southwest of Mumbai, India, or about 1,260 km (785 mi) southeast of Muscat, Oman.[3] At 18:00 UTC, the JTWC began issuing advisories on the storm, designating it as Tropical Cyclone 03A.[6]

As the wind shear decreased, the convection increased further, and the IMD upgraded the system to a deep depression at 00:00 UTC on June 1. Later that day, the system began rapidly intensifying while moving on a northwest trajectory; the IMD upgraded the system to a cyclonic storm at 09:00 UTC, naming it Phet.[3] An eye became evident during a Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) pass of the storm; its appearance and the development of rainbands showed Phet was intensifying.[7] Late on June 1, the JTWC upgraded the storm to the equivalent of a minimal hurricane, estimating 1 minute maximum sustained winds of 120 km/h (75 mph), after the eye became better defined and the tightly-curved thunderstorm activity.[8] The IMD upgraded Phet to severe cyclonic storm status at 00:00 UTC on June 2, and further to a very severe cyclonic storm six hours later.[3]

With a ridge to the northeast, the cyclone continued slowly northwestward. The JTWC initially expected that Phet would recurve to the northeast without affecting land, reflecting storm model simulations.[9] Lack of observations across the Arabian Sea prevented more the model forecasts from accurately assessing the ridge.[10] Phet quickly intensified on June 2 as it developed a well-defined 55 km (35 mi) eye, fueled by outflow that was enhanced by a passing mid-latitude trough.[11] At 12:00 UTC on June 2, the IMD estimated peak 3 minute sustained winds of 155 km/h (100 mph).[3] Simultaneously, the JTWC assessed peak 1 minute winds of 230 km/h (145 mph). The agency predicted that Phet would intensify further to reach winds of 260 km/h (160 mph) near the eastern Oman coastline.[11] Drier air from the Arabian Peninsula to the northwest disrupted the storm structure, which caused the eye to become cloud-covered, signaling weakening.[12] Between 00:00–02:00 UTC on June 3, Phet made landfall in eastern Oman near Al Ashkharah, with winds between 110–120 km/h (70–75 mph) according to the IMD.[3] The JTWC assessed landfall as occurring 16 hours later and with winds of 195 km/h (120 mph).[13]

The cyclone became elongated due to increased wind shear while it turned northeastward around the ridge.[14] High mountains in eastern Oman weakened Phet, causing the structure to become more asymmetrical.[15] At 12:00 UTC on June 4, the cyclone re-emerged into the Arabian Sea, still presenting banding features and an eye feature but with much less convection.[16] Later that day, the JTWC downgraded Phet to tropical storm status,[17] and by early on June 5, increased wind shear had displaced the center from the convection.[18] Phet turned eastward once over the Gulf of Oman, weakening to a deep depression by late on June 5.[3] The circulation remained exposed, producing convection well ahead of the center.[19] At 03:00 UTC on June 6, the IMD downgraded Phet further to depression status, assessing that the system made landfall at that intensity 12 hours later in southern Pakistan near Karachi.[3] The JTWC discontinued advisories once the storm moved ashore.[20] Phet continued generally eastward, crossing the Pakistan/India in Rajasthan. On June 7, the depression weakened into a remnant low near Madhya Pradesh.[3]

Preparations[edit]

The coasts of Oman, Pakistan and the Indian state Gujarat were issued warnings of strong waves accompanied with high winds. Fishermen were asked to go to safer areas and not to venture in the seas.

Cyclone Phet inland over Oman

Oman's National Committee for Civil Defence coordinated the country's preparations for Phet, utilizing a national disaster plan that organized the various ministries,[3] and providing early warnings.[21] After the heavy damage from Cyclone Gonu in 2007, Omani residents were better prepared during Phet.[22] Residents were advised to remain away from the rough seas during the storm. Businesses and schools were shut down in the areas the storm affected,[23] with schools operating as emergency shelters near Muscat.[24] About 85% of the isolated Masirah Island was evacuated;[23] the passage of Phet and subsequent storms affecting the Arabian Peninsula influenced the Omani government's decision to build a fixed link with the island 40 km (25 mi) offshore.[25] Nationwide, 12,870 people evacuated, utilizing 91 government-opened shelters.[3] Omani officials shut down the country's oil and gas production facilities during the storm.[22]

In the United Arab Emirates, officials activated rescue teams in the event of rough seas and floods from the storm,[23] and recommended that people stay away from the coast.[26]

The President of Pakistan ordered the military and government to take "immediate precautionary measures" as the tropical cyclone approached. In Sindh state, officials evacuated about 60,000 residents along the southern coast,[27] although thousands of people refused to leave their homes, and government-run shelters lacked sufficient food.[28] Officials advised for fishermen to return to port ahead of the cyclone.[29] Despite this, over 450 fishing boats with up to 6,000 people were still at sea, spurring a search and rescue mission by the Pakistan Navy that found 150 of them; many of these boats sheltered in mangroves along creeks near the coast.[30][29] By June 5, four Pakistani boats remained at sea ahead of the storm's arrival.[31] Roads to the coast were closed to prevent people from nearing the rough seas.[32] Hospitals in Karachi, a city of 16 million people,[31] and other coastal areas of Sindh were put on high alert amidst cyclone warnings.[27] Two ports in Karachi were shut down and cleared of boats. Thousands of billboards were taken down[31]

Over 8,000 people were evacuated from Kandla and Tuna in Kutch district in Gujarat, India, in view of the advancing cyclone.[33] Three fire brigade teams with rescue vehicles were dispatched to Junagadh, Porbandar and Jamnagar for any eventuality. Power cuts were reported from parts of Saurashtra in Gujarat, India.

Impact[edit]

Death toll
Pakistan 15 [34]
Oman 24 [35]
India 5 [36][37]
Total (as of June 8) 44

Oman[edit]

TTRM rainfall map

During its passage, Phet dropped 472 mm (18.6 in) of rainfall and produced winds of 157 km/h (98 mph) on Oman's offshore Masirah Island. On the mainland, winds reached around 120 km/h (75 mph) at Sur along the eastern coastline, while rainfall peaked at 603 mm (23.7 in) in Qurayyat.[21] The heavy rainfall filled and overflowed the newly-completed Wadi Dhaiqah Dam,[3] and inundated wadis, which are normally dry river beds, which swept away several people.[38] Three people trapped by floods had to be rescued by the nation's military, which were deployed to help prepare for the storm.[26]

On the offshore Masirah Island, Phet's storm surge damaged or wrecked some boats, while strong winds damaged tin roofs and satellite dishes. The roof and compound wall of a resort hotel were damaged. Across eastern and northern Oman, heavy rainfall from Phet flooded low-lying areas and produced landslides. The Royal Oman Police helped direct or traffic after many roads were inundated or blocked. The floodwaters entered homes in Al-Ghubra and Al Athaiba.[38] Strong winds knocked down billboards,[23] trees, and power lines, causing power outages.[38] According to Oman's National Committee for Civil Defence, Phet killed 16 people in the country,[21] although the IMD reported the death toll at 24.[3]

On June 4 in Oman, first report came that Cyclone Phet killed two persons including a Bangladeshi woman.[39] Heavy rains drenched Oman's east coast as strong winds uprooted trees and signboards. The Oman News Agency said that army forces were deployed in the region as civil defense rescued three people from an area engulfed by floods in Wadi Sal valley. A further two rain-related deaths have been reported in Oman as Tropical Cyclone Phet weakened.[40] By June 5, a further eight were confirmed to be dead, resulting in death toll of 16.[41] On June 6, an official report further increased the death toll to 24,[42] including 21 Omanis and 3 expatriates (one each from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh).[35]

Pakistan[edit]

Cyclone Phet near Pakistan on June 6

In southwestern Pakistan, Phet produced its strongest winds in the country at Jiwani, where a station recorded winds of 83 km/h (52 mph).[43] Karachi's Jinnah International Airport recorded winds of 56 km/h (35 mph).[20] The storm also dropped heavy rainfall, peaking at 370 mm (15 in) in Gwadar, while Karachi recorded 152 mm (6.0 in).[43]

Offshore Jiwani, the Pakistani Navy rescued six fishermen during the storm's passage. Along the Makran coast, the heavy rainfall washed away hundreds of houses, leaving thousands homeless; many of these residents rode out the storm on adjacent hillsides after their homes were destroyed. Phet's rains washed away a bridge linking Jiwani and Gwadar, and damaged several portions of the Makran Coastal Highway. Ten hours of rainfall in Gwadar flooded the port, adjacent neighborhoods, and the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation building, temporarily cutting the FM broadcasting. The town and other coastal locations lost power for over 24 hours due to Phet. The rains also filled and washed away irrigation dams.[32] The cyclone killed 15 people in the country.[3]

Phet arrived in Balochistan, which saw 133 millimetres of rainfall on June 4.[44] Pasni, Gwadar and other coastal had no electricity due to heavy rains. High tides were also observed in Jiwani waters.[45] Under the influence of this system, extremely heavy rainfall occurred over coastal areas of Balochistan (Gwadar 370 mm, Jiwani 208 mm, Pasni 139 mm) accompanied with very strong wind gusting to 120 km/hour.[46] On June 6, showers started in Karachi (Masroor 133 mm, Faisal 92 mm, Saddar 84 mm up to midday June 6, 2010) with 35 mph winds under the influence of the cyclone, disrupting the city's railways and electricity transmission systems.[47] At least 15 people have been killed, mostly by electrocution, and dozens injured by Phet in Pakistan.[34] Phet has also left thousands of Pakistanis homeless.[34] In the evening, the storm moved past Karachi about 50 km far and made landfall between coastlines of Thatta and Badin, causing heavy rain in the area. Hyderabad power supply was also disrupted from the downpour.[48]

After the storm, Balochistan Chief Minister Aslam Raisani allocated RS500 million toward reconstructing damaged areas.[32]

India[edit]

While Phet moved ashore Pakistan, its convection spread ahead of the center into India, bringing heavy rainfall up to 180 millimetres (7.1 in) in western Rajasthan. The rains helped alleviate drought conditions, but the associated floods killed several animals, including 11 chinkaras and 35 blackbucks.[3]

5 people were killed in the Indian state of Gujarat. Four people died in Kutch district in separate incidents of electrocution and lightning during the heavy rains that lashed the coastal areas and some other parts of Gujarat late on June 6. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the rains had been caused by Cyclone Phet which has weakened and is now over Rajasthan. On June 7 in Ahmedabad, a 10-year-old boy, fell into a pit filled with rainwater and drowned.[36][37]

According to Jaisalmer SDM Ramesh Chandra Agarwal, a number of villages, including Lathi near Pokhran, have been submerged in water. Around 35 houses washed away in the rains as water level rose to 10 feet in Lathi village.[49] The Army has been pressed into for the rescue operations and 300 villagers have been sent to safe places. The Air Force was also alerted.[50]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ "Cyclone Phet damages may cost $780 mln". Reuters. 2010-06-07. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p B.K. Bandyopadhyay, ed. (2011). WMO/ESCAP Panel on Tropical Cyclones Annual Review 2010 (PDF) (Report). World Meteorological Organization. p. 40, 54-55, 115-129. 
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  49. ^ "Phet effect: Flood-like situation in Jaisalmer". The Times Of India. 2010-06-09. 
  50. ^ "Heavy rain batters western Rajasthan". The Times Of India. 2010-06-08. 

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