Tropical cyclones and tornadoes in Pakistan

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Cyclone 2A making landfall near Karachi at peak intensity as Category-3 Hurricane in May 1999

The tropical cyclones and tornadoes in Pakistan include the deadliest cyclone to hit the country and the deadliest tornado to struck the country. Pakistan lies in the temperate zone. The climate is generally arid, characterized by the extreme south western part of the country where Gwadar is the main port city. Though cyclones are rare in the Arabian sea which is a part of North Indian Ocean, cyclones that form in this sea mostly move towards Gujarat rather than Pakistan.[1] Cyclones in the Arabian sea form mostly from May till June and then from September till October, monsoon season plays a vital role for the formation of cyclone in this basin. Tropical storms that hit Pakistan are mostly remnants by the time reach Pakistan or make landfall in south eastern Sindh which is not very much populated they rarely move towards the Balochistan coast.

List of tropical cyclones in Pakistan[edit]

Pakistan has a 1,046-kilometre (650 mi) coastline along the Arabian Sea[2] and the Gulf of Oman in the extreme south western part of the country where Gwadar is the main port city. Though cyclones are rare in the Arabian sea which is a part of North Indian Ocean, cyclones that form in this sea mostly move towards Indian state of Gujarat rather than Pakistan.[1] Cyclones in the Arabian sea form mostly from May till June and then from September till October, monsoon season plays a vital role for the formation of cyclone in this basin.[3]

Each year before the onset of monsoon that is 15 April to 15 July and also after its withdrawal that is 15 September to 15 December, there is always a distinct possibility of the cyclonic storm to develop in the north Arabian Sea.[4] There is a 98 per cent chance of cyclones to turn towards the Indian state of Gujarat, one per cent chance of moving towards the Gulf and one per cent chance of moving towards the Pakistani coast.[5]

There is only one tropical cyclone warning centre in Pakistan, which is in Karachi in Sindh province.[6]

Cyclone Yemyin making landfall in Balochistan province on 26 June 2007

Cyclones mostly hit the Sindh coast than the Balochistan coast in Pakistan. During the last 100 years a number of cyclonic storms have struck Pakistan's coastal areas. The years involved were 1895, 1902, 1907, 1944, 1948, 1964, 1985, 1999, 2007 and 2010. Other cyclones that are listed below caused rains as remnants.[4]


  • 10 July, 1894 – A land depression moved westward through India, entering current-day Pakistan at Sindh.[7]
  • 18 June, 1895 – A cyclonic storm hit the Makran coast in Balochistan province.[4]


  • 3 May, 1901 – Originating off the southwest coast of India, a cyclone passed near Oman before making landfall along Balochistan. The storm moved through the country and dissipated on 5 May.[8]
  • May 1902 – A cyclonic storm struck the coast in the vicinity of Karachi.[4]
  • June 1907 – A tropical storm struck the coast near Karachi.[4]
  • 27 July, 1944 – A cyclone left some 10,000 people homeless in Karachi.[9]
  • 8 June, 1948 – Moving ashore near Pasni along the Makran, a storm brought rainfall to Balochistan and Sindh.[10][11]


  • 12 June, 1964 – A cyclone made landfall in Tharparkar and Hyderabad district in Sindh province. It killed 450 people and left some 400,000 people homeless.[9][4]
  • 15 December, 1965 – A cyclone struck Karachi, killing 10,000 people. It is the deadliest cyclone on record in Pakistan.[12]
  • May 1985 – A cyclonic storm made a landfall in the eastern direction of Karachi. The cyclonic storm in 1985 which was moving towards Karachi actually had weakened over the sea while still a few 100 Kilometers away south of Karachi.[13]
  • 16 November, 1993 – A cyclone dissipated near the Sindh-Gujarat border. However it caused massive rainfall and flooding in Karachi but Thatta and Badin districts were the worst affected where the cyclone killed 609 people and displaced some 200,000 others.[9][14]
  • 9 June, 1998 – Striking Gujarat in neighboring India, a cyclone electrocuted 12 people in Pakistan.[15]
  • 20 May, 1999 – The strongest cyclone to hit Pakistan moved ashore near Keti Bandar at Category 3 intensity on the Saffir-Simpson scale. It killed 6,200 people in the country. At least $1 million in relief funds was to be supplied by the government.[16]


Cyclone Phet making second landfall near Karachi on 6 June 2010
  • May 2001 – More than 100,000 people evacuated in southeastern Pakistan due to the threat from a powerful cyclone in the Arabian Sea.[17] The storm struck Gujarat as a weakened cyclone on 29 May.[18]
  • 1 October, 2004 – Cyclone Onil became the first named storm in the Indian Ocean, and meandered for several days off the coast of Gujarat. In Pakistan, Onil brought heavy rainfall and gusty winds.[19] In Karachi, nine people died from the storm, as flooded streets and power outages contributed to at least two electrocution deaths.[20]
  • June 2007 – Powerful Cyclone Gonu remained well southwest of Pakistan, but it still produced heavy rainfall and strong winds in the city of Gwadar in Balochistan, where it caused damage to dozens of boats and school buildings in the area. It also caused high winds with light rainfall in Karachi and other coastal areas.[21][22]
  • 23 June, 2007 – Cyclone Yemyin, which developed over the Bay of Bengal and intensified into a cyclone over the Arabian Sea, killed 200 people alone in Karachi city due to heavy rainfall and intense windstorms as it was moving towards Balochistan province.[23] It made landfall near the towns of Ormara and Pasni in the Balochistan province on 26 June where it killed 300 people.[24] Overall it killed 730 people and affected the lives of 2 million people in Pakistan making it the third deadliest cyclone in the history of the country.[25]
  • In November 2009, remnants of Cyclone Phyan caused gusty winds along the Sindh coast including Karachi. However six Pakistani fishermen were trapped in the storm later rescued by the Indian Navy.[26]
  • 6 June, 2010 – Cyclone Phet made landfall near Karachi as a depression,[27] having earlier dropped heavy rainfall along the Makran coast. Gwadar recorded 370 mm (15 in) of rainfall, [28] which damaged 10,000 houses,[29] and disrupted portions of the Makran Coastal Highway.[30] Phet killed at least 18 people in Pakistan – 11 by electrocution, and 7 due to collapsed walls.[31] The storm also injured dozens of others and left thousands of Pakistanis homeless.[32] Damage was estimated at RS7 billion (US$80 million).[29]
  • November 2010 – The remnants of Cyclone Jal caused dusty winds in Karachi while it caused light to moderate rainfall in southeastern Sindh.[33][34]

Wettest tropical cyclone of Pakistan[edit]

Wettest tropical cyclones/depressions in Pakistan
Highest known recorded totals
Precipitation Storm Measurement
Rank (mm) (in)
1 370 mm 14.57 inches Phet (2010) Gwadar[35]
2 285  mm 11.22  inches Cyclone (1999) Keti Bandar[36]
3 245 mm 9.64 inches BOB (2009) Karachi[37][38][39]
4 191 mm 7.51 inches BOB 06 (2007) Karachi[40][41][42]
5 145 mm 5.71 inches Onil (2004) Thatta[43]
6 110 mm 3.94 inches Yemyin (2007) Karachi
7 43 mm 1.69 inches BOB 04 (2007) Karachi[44][45]
8 18 mm 0.70 inches BOB 03 (2009) Karachi[46]

Tornadoes in Pakistan[edit]

Tornadoes have been reported almost all over the Indian subcontinent with most in Bangladesh and eastern India.[47] However, dust devils are common in Pakistan, particularly in the northern and central parts of the country. Tornadoes are highly uncommon in Pakistan, where they mostly occur in March and April when a Western Disturbance starts effecting the northern parts of the country.[48] It is also speculated that cycles of tornado years may be correlated to the periods of reduced tropical cyclone activity[49] Following is a list of tornadoes which struck the country.

  • On 10 March 1981, a killer tornado killed some 56 people and injured 600 people in Gujranwala and Sheikhupura districts of Punjab province.[9]
  • On 10 March 1985, a tornado killed 18 people in the northern areas of the country.[9]
  • In 1995, hundred people were reported to have been killed by a tornado in Pakistan.[47]
  • On 28 March 2001, a killer tornado killed 10 people and injured some 100 people in Chak Misran village near Bhalwal area in Punjab province. The tornado had surface winds greater than 75 mph. It uprooted electric poles and bill boards in the area.[48]
  • Another Tornado hit Narang Mangi near Narowal city in Punjab province but no relevant data is available about this tornado.[50]

See also[edit]

Weather in Pakistan


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  17. ^ Agence France-Presse (May 29, 2001). "100,000 Pakistanis who fled storm to return home". ReliefWeb. Retrieved December 13, 2009. 
  18. ^ Joint Typhoon Warning Center (2002). "Cyclone 01A Best Track". Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command. Retrieved June 3, 2010. 
  19. ^ Gary Padgett (May 17, 2005). "Monthly Tropical Weather Summary for October 2004". Australia Severe Weather. Retrieved June 10, 2010. 
  20. ^ Staff Writer (October 3, 2004). "A cyclone in southern Pakistan kills nine people". Associated Press. Retrieved June 10, 2010. 
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  28. ^ "Country Report of Pakistan". WMO/ESCAP Panel on Tropical Cyclones Thirty-Eighth Session (PDF) (Report). World Meteorological Organization. 2011. Appendix VII. Retrieved September 11, 2016. 
  29. ^ a b June 2010 Monthly Cat Recap –Impact Forecasting (PDF) (Report). AON Benfield. 2010. Retrieved November 14, 2016. 
  30. ^ Saleem Shahid (June 6, 2010). "Pakistan: Heavy rain batters Gwadar, cyclone eyes Karachi". ReliefWeb. DAWN Group of Newspapers. Retrieved September 15, 2016. 
  31. ^ Zeb-u-Nisa; Zahid Habib Bhutta, eds. (April 2011). Annual Report (PDF) (Report). National Disaster Management Authority. pp. 31–32. Retrieved November 8, 2016. 
  32. ^ Syed Moazzam Hashmi (June 7, 2010). "Cyclone "Phet" leaves 15 dead, thousands homeless in Pakistan". Xinhua. Retrieved November 8, 2016. 
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