Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Tropical Cyclone Mora Makes Landfall in Bangladesh; Flooding Rainfall Moves Inland

Jon Erdman
Published: May 30,2017

Tropical Cyclone Mora crashed ashore in Bangladesh with storm surge flooding, high winds, and heavy rainfall along a coast historically vulnerable to deadly storm surge.
(MORE: Hurricane Central)
Mora made landfall along the southeast coast of Bangladesh near Kutubdia Island between Chittagong, the country's second largest city with a metro area population of roughly 4 million, and Cox's Bazar between 7:30 and 9:30 a.m., Tuesday, May 30, according to the India Meteorological Department.
At the time of landfall, Mora was classified as a "severe cyclonic storm" by the IMD, with estimated sustained winds of roughly 65-70 mph, the equivalent of a strong tropical storm.
The last advisory from the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center prior to landfall estimated Mora had sustained winds of 75 mph, the equivalent of a Category 1 hurricane.
(NEWS: Mora Turns Deadly; Thousands of Homes Destroyed)
The BMD warned of a storm surge of 4 to 5 feet above normal tide levels as the center of Mora approached, piling water from the Bay of Bengal into the above coastal districts.
Potential storm surge flooding from Tropical Cyclone Mora in southeast Bangladesh indicated by aqua-colored arrows.

A peak wind gust to 52 mph was clocked at Shah Amanat International Airport in Chittagong as the center passed. Teknaf, in the far southeast of Bangladesh, clocked a 45 mph wind before the reporting station went offline.
Cox's Bazar had already picked up 3.66 inches (93 millimeters) of rain from May 29-30 from Mora. Just over 2.5 inches of rain (64.4 millimeters) fell in Chittagong. Fortunately, Mora was moving fairly swiftly inland after landfall, limiting to some extent the rainfall totals near its landfall. 
Despite that, heavy rainfall was expected along, north and to the east of the track over eastern Bangladesh, northeast India and western Myanmar, extending northward to the foothills of the Himalayas.
Bangladeshis push a cartload of belongings and walk homewards after spending a night at a shelter in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, Tuesday, May 30,2017. A tropical cyclone lashed southern Bangladesh, destroying hundreds of poorly built homes in some.
(AP Photo)

This heavy rainfall extending well inland could trigger life-threatening flooding and, in mountainous areas, mudslides.
(MORE: Heavy Rain Triggers Deadly Sri Lanka Landslides)
Bay of Bengal tropical cyclones have a notoriously deadly history.
As meteorologist Chris Dolce laid out in a previous article, the northern Bay of Bengal is one of the most storm-surge-prone coastlines in the world due to a combination of dense population, very flat terrain near the coast, the narrowing of the bay on its northern edge, the shallow bathymetry of the bay and numerous small inlets.
Of the 12 tropical cyclones on record that have claimed at least 100,000 lives, eight of those formed in the Bay of Bengal, according to Weather Underground.
One of these, the infamous Great Bhola Cyclone, killed at least 300,000 in November 1970, the world's deadliest tropical cyclone of record.
In more recent times, Cyclone Nargis in 2008 devasted the Irrawaddy Delta region of Myanmar, claiming at least 130,000 lives.
(MORE: Which Countries Get Hit Most by Tropical Cyclones?)
Less intense storms have also been very deadly in the region.
In 2015, a tropical storm-strength cyclone, Cyclone Komen, hovered near the coast of Bangladesh and brought flooding rain to six countries that killed nearly 500 people. Cyclone Komen made weeks of heavy rainfall even worse as landslides occurred in Myanmar, and more than a million people were evacuated or displaced from Myanmar alone.
MORE: Bay of Bengal's Deadly Cyclones

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