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Cyclone Vardah named by Pakistan; here is how

Cyclones explained: How are they named, what constitutes them and how do they differ from typhoons and hurricanes.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
December 12, 2016 7:51:19 pm


How are cyclones named?

Tropical cyclones passing over the northern part of the Indian Ocean are named by eight countries in the region, namely India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman and Thailand. The process only began in 2004, fours years after World Meteorological Organization agreed in principle to allow them to name cyclones originating in the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea. The alphabet system is used to designate the name of a cyclone, which means the name of the year’s first cyclone begins with A. Previously, till 1979, cyclones were only given female names. Male names were only introduced in the same year. World Meteorological Organization (WMO) maintains the database of cyclone/hurricane/typhoon names. There are six lists of names used in rotation and they are recycled every six years. The names are picked from this pre-designated list and are usually familiar with the people living in the region. India has so far contributed the following names: Agni, Bijli, Akash, Jal, Lehar, Megh, Sagar and Vayu.

WATCH VIDEO : Cyclone Vardah kills 10, people evacuated to safer places

Who named cyclone Vardah?

The name Vardah, which means red rose, was given by Pakistan. The name was originally part of a standby list that is used to replace retired names in the original list. Cyclone Vardah made landfall in Tamil Nadu and coastal Andhra Pradesh Monday evening. Heavy rainfall and high wind speeds measuring over 90 kmph are expected to follow. It was downgraded from very severe cyclone to severe cyclone by the Indian Meteorological Department.

Why are cyclones given names?

The practice first began to help people easily remember them instead of identifying a storm with a specific number based on its latitude-longitude. Also it is easy to issue alerts, and for the media to report the developments. This simultaneously increases the community preparedness and heightens interest in the event, according to WMO. Names are ideally retired in case there is massive damage to property and loss of human lives. Example: Hurricane Sandy, Katrina that hit America under the Obama and Bush administration respectively were retired.

What parts constitute a cyclone?

There are known as the Eye, Eyeball and Rainbands.

WATCH VIDEO : Visuals Of Cyclone Vardah In Tamil Nadu

The Eye

This is the center of the storm but it doesn’t live up to the name as it is relatively the calmest part of the storm. Once cyclone Varadah made its landfall, the eye passed over Chennai within hours, giving a false impression that the storm has passed. The moment it passed, rainfall subsided, the cloud cover lifted and wind speeds decreased. The IMD, however, warned Chennai residents that the worst was yet to come.

The Eyewall

It is the ring that surrounds the Eye. It consists of thunderstorms and usually high velocity winds. The size of this ring is usually an indicator over the severity of the storm.


They are “curved bands of clouds and thunderstorms” that form the outer layer of the cyclone. They are responsible for heavy bursts of rain and wind.

What is the difference between hurricane, cyclone and typhoon?

They all mean the same, except that they differ in terms of their geographical location. Hurricanes form in Atlantic and the Northeast Pacific oceans, typhoons in Northwest Pacific ocean and cyclones in South Pacific and Indian oceans.

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