The Bay of Bengal cyclone ‘Phailin' originated from a remnant cyclonic circulation over the South China Sea. It reached Andaman Sea on 07 October 2013 as a low-pressure area. Moving in the northwesterly direction, it intensified into a cyclonic storm at 17:30 UTC 09 October.
It continued to move in the same direction and rapidly intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm on 10 October and it became equivalent to a Category-5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale on 11 October. It crossed east coast of India near Gopalpur, Odisha on 12th October around 2230 IST on 12 October 2013 night with maximum sustained wind speed of about 200 Km h-1 and gust speed of 220 km h-1 .
It caused substantial damage in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) was closely monitoring the movement of Phailin with advisory bulletins issued in a timely manner.
The biggest evacuation effort of the past 23 years by the Odisha State government and National Disaster Response Force teams had saved loss of human life. The evacuation efforts include shifting human population from the coastal areas of Ganjam, Puri and Jagatsinghpur districts of Orissa.
Prof. M. Mandal
Prof. M. Mandal from CORAL has carried out the real-time prediction of track, intensity, location and time of landfall of the storm using a customised double nested Advance Research Core Weather Research and Forecasting Model. The forecasted track of the cyclone along with the actual track is shown.
Research on Phailin cyclone
It shows that forecasted track closely followed the actual track. The model predicted landfall about 24 Km to the right of the actual landfall point at actual landfall time. The model predicted wind speed of 185 Km h-1 was very close to the actual winds around the time of landfall.
Report by Prof. Prasad K. Bhaskaran
Prof. Prasad K. Bhaskaran, a faculty from the Department of Ocean Engineering & Naval Architecture, IIT Kharagpur conducted a study on the real-time peak storm surge and associated onshore inundation distance at Odisha coast for the Phailin cyclone.
Report on on coastal inundation
An earlier study reported by Prof. Bhaskaran on coastal inundation for the December 2011 Thane cyclone in the Bay of Bengal proved the robustness and versatility of ADCIRC based on a comprehensive validation with the field reconnaissance survey conducted by ICMAM, Chennai.
The real-time prediction of ‘Phailin' was made at IIT Kharagpur. The faculty members from Centre for Oceans, Rivers, Atmosphere and Land Sciences (CORAL) and the Department of Ocean Engineering & Naval Architecture were actively involved in predicting the intensity and track of the storm and associated coastal inundation.
This was a part of the ongoing sponsored collaborative project with INCOIS (Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services), Ministry of Earth Sciences, Hyderabad. The ADCIRC model used in this exercise utilised the real-time IMD predicted track to estimate the location of peak storm surge and coastal inundation. The computed maximum peak storm surge was 2.8 m that was in close conjunction with the report of 3.0 m.
The extent of onshore inundation varied from 600 m to about 1.4 Km near the vicinity of Rushikulya River in the Ganjam district of Odisha.
There is absolute lack of information on coastal flooding and inundation distance in the event of a real cyclone provided by the weather agency today. The paper by Prof. Bhaskaran in the forthcoming issue of Coastal Engineering, a peer-reviewed journal published by Elsevier highlights the importance of ADCIRC for operational needs signifying its application for real-time prediction of storm surge and coastal inundation for the Indian coasts.