DISCUSSION: Over the past couple of days, millions of people from around the world were witnesses to an increasingly scary situation in the context of the robust intensification and the approach of Tropical Cyclone Fani to an eventual landfall in eastern India. From a historical perspective, this was an incredibly impressive event on all accounts. First, despite the relatively commonality of tropical cyclones forming in this region of the world (i.e., across the northern and/or southern Indian Ocean), it is not all that often that the subcontinent of India or any other adjacent countries get in the path of such a powerful tropical cyclone. That being said, such events do occasionally occur and when they do, there are often substantially noticeable and lasting impacts.
In the case of Tropical Cyclone Fani, this was a large and powerful tropical cyclone which at its period of peak intensity (i.e., within the 12 to 24 hours prior to its landfall in eastern India) had maximum sustained winds of around 150 mph with gusts to around 190 mph. Thus, making it an incredibly large and dangerous tropical cyclone which was being estimated as a storm which would have the potential to forever change the lives of hundreds of millions of people as and beyond the point at which it makes landfall. To put this storm in context, the last tropical cyclone to impact the subcontinent of India was Tropical Cyclone Hudhud back in October 2014 as a severe tropical cyclone. Despite the fact that Fani was a somewhat weaker system at the time of landfall than Hudhud, Fani was a MUCH larger system with a lot more water being carried along with it. Thus, the major concern and still a major ongoing concern is the continued flooding and flash flooding threat across northern India, Bangladesh and beyond. The major rainfall production will continue even as this storm weakens and gradually gets absorbed by the larger-scale atmospheric flow across southern Asia.
Having said all the above, it still goes without saying that Tropical Cyclone Fani will most definitely go down in the record books as being one of the likely top ten worst tropical storms to impact the subcontinent of India in recorded history.
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© 2019 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz