Tropical Cyclone "Fani" made landfall close to the city of Puri, Odisha between 02:30 - 04:30 UTC (08:00 - 10:00 LT) on Friday, May 3, 2019 as Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm with winds between 180 - 190 km/h (112 - 118 mph) and gusts to 200 km/h (124 mph). This made it a Category 3 hurricane equivalent on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
- With maximum sustained winds of 250 km/h (155 mph) on May 2, Fani became the strongest of any cyclones this early in a calendar year in the North Indian Ocean since the Bangladesh Cyclone of 1991.
- Fani is one of the strongest storms to hit India in 20 years.
- The timing of such a powerful storm is unusual, IMD said. Over the past 50 years, nearly 60% of extremely severe cyclones made landfall between October and December.
- While damage reports are still coming in, at least 12 people have been killed in India and at least 9 in Bangladesh.
More than 2 million people were evacuated, 1+ million each from coastal areas of India and Bangladesh.
Authorities are reporting extensive damage and many uprooted trees in Puri district and along the path of the storm. Phone lines, internet, and electricity were all down in the district and in many parts of the state, a government spokesman said late Friday, adding that at least 160 people were injured.
Fani weakened to a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm by Friday evening (LT) and entered Bengal at 00:30 LT, May 4 with wind speeds between 70 and 80 km/h (44 - 50 mph) and gusts to 90 km/h (56 mph). By the time it reached Bangladesh, Fani weekend into a Cyclonic Storm, still dropping very heavy rain.
At around 03:00 UTC (08:30 LT) on May 4, Fani weakened into a deep depression, with its center over Bangladesh and adjoining Gangetic West Bengal, about 40 km (24.8 miles) ENE of Krishanagar, West Bengal.
Impacts of the storm were felt as far away as Mount Everest, more than 2 300 km (1 430 miles) away, where mountaineers and Sherpa guides reported severe weather at higher elevations, the AP reported. Government warned heavy snow is expected at higher mountain areas, asking tourist agencies to take tourists to safety.
Featured image: Ex-Tropical Cyclone "Fani" at 08:00 UTC on May 4, 2019. Credit: UW-CIMSS, TW