The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track planetary extreme, or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉
Main Topic: The Aftermath of Cyclone Mocha
Dear Diary. This situation could have been so much worse. Thankfully, meteorological models are getting a lot better with forecasts and lead time concerning hurricanes, or cyclones as they are known in the Bay of Bengal. Cyclone Mocha, which attained a record strength of 175 mph was picked up by models as early as a week ago:
Extreme Temperature Diary- Sunday May 7th, 2023/Main Topic: Record Hot Southern Asian Airmass Probably Will Strengthen Developing Cyclone In the Bay of Bengal – Guy On Climate
Also, it helped that Mocha weakened with top winds going down to about 130 mph at landfall.
Instead of thousands being killed, because of better lead time Myanmar officials were able to warn and evacuate people in and around Sittwe such that the total fatalities will hopefully not be many more than what the Washington Post has reported today. Unfortunately, damage to the area where Mocha hit is quite extensive, so it remains to be seen how much of a humanitarian crisis we have due to people being displaced from homes. Also, we need to know what happened to Rohingya refugee encampments.
Here is the Washington Post’s latest report:
Powerful cyclone floods homes, cuts communications in western Myanmar; at least 6 dead, 700 injured – The Washington Post
Powerful cyclone floods homes, cuts communications in western Myanmar; at least 6 dead, 700 injured
By Julhas Alam | AP
May 15, 2023
This photo provided by Myanmar Military True News Information Team on Monday, May 15, 2023, shows flooded areas caused by Cyclone Mocha near old temple in Bagan, Central Myanmar. Rescuers early Monday evacuated about 1,000 people trapped by seawater 3.6 meters (12 feet ) deep along western Myanmar’s coast after the powerful cyclone injured hundreds and cut off communications. (Military True News Information Team via AP) (Uncredited/Myanmar Military True News Information Team)
DHAKA, Bangladesh — Rescuers on Monday evacuated about 1,000 people trapped by seawater 3.6 meters (12 feet) deep along western Myanmar’s coast after a powerful cyclone injured hundreds and cut off communications. Six deaths were reported, but the true impact was not yet clear in one of Asia’s least developed countries.
Strong winds injured more than 700 of about 20,000 people who were sheltering in sturdier buildings on the highlands of Sittwe township, such as monasteries, pagodas and schools, according to a leader of the Rakhine Youths Philanthropic Association in Sittwe. He asked not to be named due to fear of reprisals from the authorities in the military-run country.
Seawater raced into more than 10 low-lying wards near the shore as Cyclone Mocha made landfall in Rakhine state Sunday afternoon, he said. Residents moved to roofs and higher floors, while the wind and storm surge prevented immediate rescue.
“After 4 p.m. yesterday, the storm weakened a bit, but the water did not fall back. Most of them sat on the roof and at the high places of their houses the whole night. The wind blew all night,” the rescue group leader said.
Water was still about 1.5 meters (5 feet) high in flooded areas later Monday, but rescues were being made as the wind calmed and the sun rose in the sky. He asked civil society organizations and authorities to send aid and help evacuate residents.
Six deaths were reported by Myanmar media and rescue groups. Several injuries were reported in neighboring Bangladesh, which was spared the predicted direct hit.
Mocha made landfall near Sittwe township with winds blowing up to 209 kilometers (130 miles) per hour, Myanmar’s Meteorological Department said. By midday Monday, it had weakened to a tropical depression, according to the India Meteorological Department.
The State Administration Council issued disaster declarations for 17 townships in Rakhine state.
High winds crumpled cell phone towers, but in videos collected by local media before communications were lost, deep water raced through streets and wind blew off roofs.
Myanmar’s military information office said the storm had damaged houses and electrical transformers in Sittwe, Kyaukpyu, and Gwa townships. It said roofs were torn off buildings on the Coco Islands, about 425 kilometers (264 miles) southwest of the country’s largest city, Yangon.
Volunteers previously said shelters in Sittwe did not have enough food after more people arrived there seeking help.
Mocha largely spared the Bangladeshi city of Cox’s Bazar, which initially had been in the storm’s predicted path. Authorities had evacuated hundreds of thousands of people before the cyclone veered east.
A Bangladesh government official, Enamur Rahman, said the damage was still being assessed, but that about 2,000 homes had been destroyed and 10,000 others were damaged on Saint Martin’s Island and Teknaf in Cox’s Bazar district.
He said no deaths were reported.
About a dozen people were injured on Saint Martin’s Island, the Prothom Alo newspaper reported.
U.N. agencies and aid workers in Bangladesh had prepositioned tons of dry food and dozens of ambulances in the refugee camps that house more than 1 million Rohingya Muslims who fled persecution in Myanmar.
In May 2008, Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar with a storm surge that devastated populated areas around the Irrawaddy River delta. At least 138,000 people died and tens of thousands of homes and other buildings were washed away.
Roxy Mathew Koll, a climate scientist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Pune city, said cyclones in the Bay of Bengal are becoming more intense more quickly, in part because of climate change.
Climate scientists say cyclones can now retain their energy for many days. Cyclone Amphan in eastern India in 2020 continued to travel over land as a strong cyclone and caused extensive devastation.
“As long as oceans are warm and winds are favorable, cyclones will retain their intensity for a longer period,” Koll said.
Tropical cyclones, which are called hurricanes or typhoons in other regions, are among the world’s most devastating natural disasters when they hit densely populated coastal areas.
More Notes on Cyclone Mocha:
Here are some more “ET’s” recorded from around the planet the last couple of days, their consequences, and some extreme temperature outlooks, as well as any extreme precipitation reports:
Some More April 2023 Climatology:
Here is more climate and weather news from Monday:
(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)