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Cyclone Biparjoy – live: Two dead and nearly 1000 villages without power as storm weakens

Eye of the cyclone, churning across the Arabian Sea for more than 10 days, was located around 20km southwest of Indian port

Stuti Mishra
in Delhi
,Arpan Rai
Friday 16 June 2023 13:55 BST
High tide and strong winds witnessed as ‘Biparjoy’ approaches India coast

A man and his son died in India’s Gujarat state as they attempted to save their livestock in the region hit by cyclone Biparjoy, officials said today.

The longest cyclone to have struck the Arabian Sea, Biparjoy knocked out power in nearly 1000 villages and threw shipping containers into the sea in western India before moving to Pakistan where lashing winds and rain are expected to strike a part struck by devastating floods last year.

The storm made landfall a night earlier, packing windspeeds of 85 kph (53 mph), gusting up to 105 kph (86 mph) through the coastal regions of western India’s Gujarat state. Pakistani authorities were on high alert after evacuating 82,000 people.

The eye of the cyclone, which was churning across the Arabian Sea for more than 10 days, was located around 20km southwest of Jakhau port, 120km northwest of Devbhumi Dwarka and 50 km west-southwest of Naliya, reported Press Trust of India.

Recent studies show cyclones in the Arabian Sea are getting stronger and wetter as the sea surface temperature increased by 1.2C to 1.4C in recent decades.


What is a Cyclone and how is affected by rising sea temperatures?

As cyclone Biparjoy bears down on the Arabian Sea, posing dangers to highly populated cities in India, scientists are pointing out how higher temperatures in the oceans are leading to more devastating storms.

What is a cyclone?

A cyclone, also known as a hurricane or typhoon in different regions, is a powerful tropical storm with strong rotating winds that forms when low pressure is created in the oceans near the equator.

Cyclones are fuelled by warm ocean temperatures, which provide the energy necessary for their development and intensification.

These severe storms can cause heavy rainfall, high tides and gusts of winds in the nearby regions as they pass causing extensive damage to infrastructure, homes, and pose risks to human lives.

How cyclones are getting stronger due to climate crisis?

Typically an ocean temperature above 27C is required to sustain a tropical cyclone. As the world continues to warm due to greenhouse gas emissions mainly from fossil fuels, the oceans are getting warmer too.

Various scientific assessments, including from the United Nations' top climate body the IPCC, find that warmer oceans not just make development of cyclones more likely, they also make these storms slow moving, making them more intense.

A slow moving cyclone results in longer duration of rainfall and winds, causing more damage.

As sea surface temperatures in the Arabian Sea have increased by 1.2C to 1.4C in recent decades, studies have shown that cyclones in this region are becoming stronger and wetter.

Stuti Mishra15 June 2023 10:00

More than 150,000 evacuated in India and Pakistan so far

The number of evacuees from India and Pakistan has risen up to 150,000 as cyclone Biparjoy inched very close to the coastlines of South Asian nations.

Over 94,000 people have been moved out from coastal areas in India alone to shelters, while authorities in Pakistan’s Sindh said over 81,000 people were evacuated from the south-eastern coast to 75 relief camps at schools.

This number is expected to rise further as authorities assess the dangers posed by the cyclone as it inches closer.

Four deaths have already been reported in India (see post below) from extreme weather brought on by the cyclone while rainfall has been wreaking havoc in Pakistan for days killing dozens.

Local residents travel on a vehicle as they flee from a coastal village due to Cyclone Biparjoy approaching, in Golarchi near Badin, Pakistan's southern district in the Sindh province (AP)
Stuti Mishra15 June 2023 10:25

In Pictures: Clouds and rains intensify as cyclone inches close

A view of rain clouds before the arrival of cyclonic storm Biparjoy, in Karachi, Pakistan (REUTERS)
A cloud shapes above a deserted beach in Mandvi, in the Kutch district of the western state of Gujarat, India (EPA)
People and a dog move on a street during heavy rain in Mandvi, in the Kutch district of the western state of Gujarat (EPA)
Birds fly amid high tides and heavy winds ahead of cyclone Biparjoy, in Karachi, Pakistan (EPA)
A paramilitary soldier searches an empty village to ensure everybody have been evacuated due to Cyclone Biparjoy approaching, in Keti Bandar near Thatta, Pakistan (AP)
Stuti Mishra15 June 2023 10:43

Cyclone Biparjoy now just 120 kms away from India and Pakistan

In its latest update, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) says cyclone Biparjoy is now just 120kms away from India’s Jakhua Port where it is supposed to make landfall later today.

The update issued at 1.30pm local time says the cyclone is expected to make landfall by tonight.

Stuti Mishra15 June 2023 11:01

India aims to 'ensure zero casualties' as cyclone Biparjoy expected to cause heavy damages

Officials in India bracing for cyclone Biparjoy's landfall today say their aim is to ensure "zero casualties" as the weather department issued warning for heavy damages.

Our aim is to ensure zero casualties. I appeal to people to remain safe at their respective locations and avoid travel,

the health minister of Gujarat province, Rushikesh Patel, told reporters

Mr Patel said more than 47,000 people were shifted to shelter homes in the Kutch district alone, where the cyclone is expected to make landfall at the Jakhua port.

"All pregnant women moved to hospitals and other safe locations," he added.

Four deaths have already been reported in the country since heavy winds and rainfall lashed the western parts, including Mumbai where three boys drowned (see post below).

Stuti Mishra15 June 2023 11:15

Cyclone Biparjoy to make landfall at 8pm IST

Cyclone Biparjoy is expected to make landfall at around 8pm or 8:30pm (14:00 GMT or 14:30 GMT), Manorama Mohanty, the Gujarat director of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

She warned that that the process could last until midnight.

Earlier, IMD said the impact of the cyclone would begin to intensify from late afternoon as Biparjoy inches closer.

The cyclone could cause tidal waves in the Arabian Sea as high as 7 to10 feet that could inundate low-lying coastal areas in both India and Pakistan.

High tide at the sea coast in Mandvi, in the Kutch district of the western state of Gujarat (EPA)
Stuti Mishra15 June 2023 11:52

'We are praying to God': Residents say cyclone Biparjoy is worst storm they have seen in decades

Residents in India's Gujarat province where cyclone Biparjoy is expected to make landfall today are experiencing extremely heavy rainfall and winds from last two days.

In Kutch region, 57-year-old boat owner and businessman Adam Karim Dhobi said this was the worst storm he'd seen since 1998.

"We have parked our boats in safe places," Mr Dhobi told Associated Press. "We are praying to God that this cyclone doesn't cause too much damage here."

Gujarat's government has evacuated around 100,000 people to safer areas with warnings in place for heavy tides, winds and rainfall. Roads have already been inundated with water in many areas as gusts uproot trees and roofs.

Boats stand anchored at Jakhau Port in Kutch district, India (AP)
Stuti Mishra15 June 2023 12:10

World breaches 1.5C limit temporarily

The first half of June has witnessed global surface air temperatures surpassing the critical threshold of 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, the European Union's scientific body has said.

The 1.5C limit, which is a key goal of the Paris Agreement to limit global heating, was crossed after the official declaration of the emerging El Niño phenomenon and last month’s record sea-surface temperatures.

The first eleven days of this month also registered the highest temperatures on record for this time of the year, Copernicus said.

This has been the first time that global surface air temperatures have exceeded the pre-industrial level by more than 1.5C during the month of June.

Experts say while this rise in global-mean temperatures is temporary, it points to an alarming trend.

“This isn’t the first time global-mean warming temporarily exceeds 1.5C, and certainly won’t be the last – but this doesn’t mean we have exceeded the Paris Agreement policy limit," Dr Paulo Ceppi, Lecturer in Climate Science at the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London, explained.

"On top of the long-term global warming trend, there are natural fluctuations in global temperature from month to month and year to year, and on average, global warming remains closer to 1.2C."

“Looking to the future however, with continued high emissions of greenhouse gases, we can expect to cross the 1.5C threshold increasingly frequently, and even permanently unless we act very rapidly to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions," he added.

Stuti Mishra15 June 2023 12:23

Watch: Police patrol Mumbai's Gateway of India as Biparjoy nears landfall

Cyclone Biparjoy is making landfall in Gujarat but its impact is being felt in India’s financial capital Mumbai as terrifyingly high tides and heavy rainfall lash the city.

Alerts have been issued in the city to stay away from coastal areas as fishing activities were halted.

Earlier three boys had died after drowning in water off the coast of Juhu beach.

Stuti Mishra15 June 2023 13:01

Cyclone Biparjoy third storm in 60 years to hit Gujarat province of India

Cyclone Biparjoy which is making a landfall today in Gujarat's Kutch district is only the third tropical storm to follow an eastern path in the Arabian sea.

According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), based on data from 1965 to 2022 for the month of June, 13 cyclones developed over the Arabian Sea.

Of these, only two crossed the Gujarat coast before Biparjoy, one Maharashtra, one Pakistan coast, while three went towards Oman-Yemen coasts and six weakened over the sea.

Stuti Mishra15 June 2023 13:30

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