1990 Andhra Pradesh cyclone
|Super cyclonic storm (IMD scale)|
|Category 4 tropical cyclone (SSHWS)|
|Formed||May 4, 1990|
|Dissipated||May 10, 1990|
|Highest winds||3-minute sustained: 230 km/h (145 mph) |
1-minute sustained: 230 km/h (145 mph)
|Lowest pressure||920 hPa (mbar); 27.17 inHg|
|Damage||$600 million (1990 USD)|
|Part of the 1990 North Indian Ocean cyclone season|
The 1990 Andhra Pradesh cyclone or the 1990 Machilipatnam Cyclone was the worst disaster to affect Southern India since the 1977 Andhra Pradesh cyclone. The system was first noted as a depression on May 4, 1990, while it was located over the Bay of Bengal about 600 km (375 mi) to the southeast of Chennai, India. During the next day the depression intensified into a cyclonic storm and started to intensify rapidly, becoming a super cyclonic storm early on May 8. The cyclone weakened slightly before it made landfall on India about 300 km (190 mi) to the north of Madras in the Andhra Pradesh state as a very severe cyclonic storm with winds of 165 km/h (105 mph). While over land the cyclone gradually dissipated. The cyclone had a severe impact on India, with over 967 people reported to have been killed. Over 100,000 animals also died in the cyclone with the total cost of damages to crops estimated at over $600 million (1990 USD).
On May 4, 1990, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) reported that a depression had developed over the Bay of Bengal about 600 km (375 mi) to the southeast of Chennai, India. During that day the system gradually developed further and became the subject of a tropical cyclone formation alert, by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center as it moved westwards under the influence of the subtropical ridge of high pressure. The depression subsequently intensified into a cyclonic storm early the next day, before the JTWC initiated advisories on the system and designated it as Tropical Cyclone 02B later that day. At this stage the JTWC only expected the cyclone to intensify marginally, before it weakened as it made landfall in Southern India within 72 hours. During May 6, the system started to move more towards the north-west because of a weakness in the subtropical ridge, as it continued to intensify and became a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm. This turn towards the northwest turned out to be more northerly than had been expected, which as a result allowed the system to stay offshore for longer than had been expected by the JTWC.
Over the next couple of days the system rapidly intensified before the JTWC reported early on May 8, that the system had peaked with 1-minute sustained windspeeds of 230 km/h (145 mph), which made the system equivalent to a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale. At around the same time the IMD also reported that the cyclone had peaked as a Super Cyclonic Storm, with 3-minute sustained wind speeds of 235 km/h (145 mph) and an estimated central pressure of 920 hPa (27.17 inHg). By this time the system was located about 150 km (95 mi) to the northeast of Madras and was moving northwards slowly. Later that day as the ship Visvamohini moved through the systems eye region, it measured a central pressure of 912 hPa (26.93 inHg), which the IMD reported would be one of the lowest central pressures ever measured in the Bay of Bengal if it was correct. The system subsequently started to weaken and had become a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm by the time it made landfall during May 9, near the mouth of the Krishna River in southern Andhra Pradesh. The system subsequently moved north-westwards and gradually weakened further, before it was last noted during May 11, by both the IMD and JTWC.
Preparations and impact
As a result of timely warnings issued by the IMD, the Indian government was able to launch an evacuation campaign and order that all fisherman return to shore. This led to more than 150,000 people being evacuated to relief camps which had been set up on higher ground. Due to the thorough preparations, there was fewer deaths than in the 1977 Andhra Pradesh cyclone.
On Edurumandi Island over 7,000 people were left stranded after they refused to evacuate. The island itself was reported to have experienced the full brunt of the system. However, all of the residents reportedly sought protection within a shelter provided by the government. The cyclone had a significant effect on India, with storm surge tides as high as 4.9 meters (16 ft) above normal. Consequently, over 100 villages were submerged in water and destroyed. At least 967 people were killed by the cyclone; most of the deaths occurred when houses made mostly out of mud and straw collapsed. Other people were killed when electrical wires were knocked down and while some people were carried away by flooded rivers. The storm left at least 3 million people homeless, while over 100,000 farm animals were killed. At least 435,000 acres (1,760 km2) of rice paddies were destroyed along with huge tracts of mango and banana trees. The total damage to crops and property was estimated at over $600 million (1990 USD). The cyclone was described as the worst disaster in southern India since the 1977 storm. Sea water contaminated fresh drinking wells, prompting warnings about outbreaks of Cholera and Typhoid as many people were drinking and cooking with water from the drains which was causing stomach disorders.
Overall the cyclone only caused minor damage to Tamil Nadu with the worst affected area being the district of Chingleput, where one of the old shrines of Kasiviswanather Temple collapsed as high waves hit the coast. A large number of huts were also washed away by the waves, while six deaths were reported in the state.
On May 11, two days after the cyclone had hit, the Indian Government launched a massive relief and rescue operation. The Indian Army and Naval helicopters took surveys of areas affected by the cyclone, and also dropped food packets. Although the Indian Government did not request international assistance, the Red Cross provided food, oil, medicines and water tanks for the affected families; the wcc/cicarws issued an appeal for $262 thousand (1990 USD) so they could provide immediate needs with World Vision providing $160 thousand (1990 USD) for food blankets and utensils.
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