Tropical Cyclone Sidr devastates Bangladesh

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:22 PM GMT on November 16, 2007

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Tropical Cyclone Sidr has devastated the low-lying nation of Bangladesh. At least 496 are dead, 540 missing, and thousands injured. The cyclone's 150 mph winds and storm surge of at least 20 feet destroyed tens of thousands of buildings, and have left over 100,00 people homeless. A nation-wide power outage hit the country in the wake of Sidr, making communications difficult. Power is only now beginning to be restored to some regions. Most of the reported deaths were from collapsed buildings and flying debris hurled by the Category 4 cyclone, which hit the country at 9pm local time Thursday night. The storm moved northeastward across the country, and has now dissipated in the foothills of the Himalaya Mountains.


Figure 1. Population density map of Bangladesh for regions less than 10 meters in elevation (red areas) and higher than 10 meters (green areas). The path of Tropical Cyclone Sidr took it inland over the Sundarbans Forest, the least populated region of the coast. However, the more heavily populated provinces just to the right of the Forest, Barguna and Patuakhali, likely received a storm surge of 10-20 feet. Sidr passed near the city of Barisal, where sustained winds of 92 mph were measured at midnight local time. The deadliest cyclones for Bangladesh have always taken a more easterly track, near the city of Chittagong. Image credit: CIESEN, Columbia University. Thanks go to Margie Kieper for finding the image.

Sidr's storm surge
Storm surge is usually the biggest killer in Bangladesh cyclones, and was responsible for the vast majority of the 140,000 people killed in the 1991 Bangladesh Cyclone. This storm struck eastern Bangladesh as a Category 5 cyclone--the only Category 5 cyclone on record to hit the country. The triangular shape of Bengal Bay funnels high surges into the apex of the triangle where Bangladesh sits, and the shallow bottom of the bay allows extraordinarily high storm surges to pile up. The maximum storm surge from Sidr was probably 20-25 feet, and affected the regions near and to the right of where the eye made landfall. The eye fortunately came ashore in the Sundarbans Forest, the world's largest forest of mangrove trees. This region is the least populated coastal area in the country (Figure 1). Storm surge levels of 10-20 feet probably affected the provinces of Barguna and Paruakhali, which are more heavily populated. Undoubtedly, the storm surge killed many more people in these provinces, and Sidr's death toll will go much higher. However, Bangladesh has done a much better job providing shelters and evacuating people during cyclones since the 1991 storm. Over 650,000 people did evacuate from Sidr, and it is unlikely the death toll will put the storm on the list of the world's deadliest cyclones of all time. Bangladesh already holds ten of the top twenty spots on that list.

Jeff Masters

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120. Cavin Rawlins
7:25 PM GMT on November 17, 2007
new blog
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
119. H2PV
5:54 PM GMT on November 17, 2007
117. decimus785 5:01 PM GMT on November 17, 2007
maximum sustained wind when it made landfall i think was 150 mph,that's a strong category 4 cyclone.


Without Hurricane Hunters on the scene with dropsondes falling through the eyewall you can't get within 15 mph of what the true wind speeds might have been -- could have been 135 mph or 165. Hurricane Dean ramped up another 10 to 15 mph in it's last hour before landfall and nobody could know that without the Hurricane Hunters last mission. Land based instruments blow away by 135 mph winds -- there wasn't a working anemometer left in southern Louisiana after Katrina came ashore at estimated 135 mph winds, and most failed well below that wind speed.

Some people have a NEED that Sidr not go to cat 5, others an equally strong need that it was cat 5. The categories are supposed to be "informative", descriptive of the typical damage patterns of that class storm. Whenever the windspeed gets to the borderline, within a mile or two or three of the next category, I'm not in a hurry to shove it down into the next lower category just because the statistics on strong storms might be skewed. Sidr was a cat 5 by visual evidence on the satellites. There is never going to be any hard evidence beyond what we already have.
118. hydrus
5:07 PM GMT on November 17, 2007
Thank you for the info decimus.I went through hurricane charlie and jeanne.A&M university said sustained winds my town were 150 mph gusts over 180 in very compact charlie.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22604
117. decimus785
5:01 PM GMT on November 17, 2007
maximum sustained wind when it made landfall i think was 150 mph,that's a strong category 4 cyclone.
116. hydrus
4:55 PM GMT on November 17, 2007
Does anyone know what the maximum sustained wind speed was when sidr made landfall?
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22604
115. SherwoodSpirit
4:44 PM GMT on November 17, 2007
Patrap, thanks for the video from The Concert for Bangladesh. I've had that song running through my head for days, watching Sidr approach.
I saw a quote from a Sidr survivor last night. He said, "We are born to suffer."
I feel such sadness for the people of the region.
Member Since: July 18, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 399
114. analogk37
4:20 PM GMT on November 17, 2007
I hope that article (from The New Nation) had a typo in it...

The government officials confirmed 740 dead while reporters from different parts of the country said the figure might be above 15000.

... wow ...
113. CrazyC83
4:01 PM GMT on November 17, 2007
Death toll now up to 2,185...

Now the deadliest storm in the world since Hurricane Jeanne, and the second deadliest this decade. (The last to kill more than 3,100 was the Orissa cyclone in 1999 which killed over 9,000)
Member Since: September 19, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 142
112. lawntonlookers
2:28 PM GMT on November 17, 2007
Here is an article from The New Nation newspaper in Bangladesh/

The New Nation
Member Since: March 22, 2006 Posts: 9 Comments: 1570
111. decimus785
2:19 PM GMT on November 17, 2007
Just heard on CNN that the death toll in bangladesh is 1,700

And here's a little more info
110. Ivansrvivr
1:26 PM GMT on November 17, 2007
Patrap, I never had any doubt of that.
109. salter
1:25 PM GMT on November 17, 2007
Morning, its 32 outside today brrrrr. i live 40 miles northeast of tampa in zephyhills fl. just wanted to send my thoughts out to the people over seas that went through that hurricane god bless john
108. Patrap
12:44 PM GMT on November 17, 2007
There are 3500 US Marines on those Ships.
They will get er done.
That you can take to the bank.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129833
107. Ivansrvivr
12:30 PM GMT on November 17, 2007
"U.S. Navy Sends Two Ships After Cyclone Devastates Bangladesh"

That's a perfect example of why we celebrate Veteran's day. I've experienced the chaos after a major cat3 landfall over here. Could easily be 1000x worse, our heroes are going in there and probably(hopefully) saving alot of lives.
106. Patrap
12:30 PM GMT on November 17, 2007
..Bangladesh,so many People...



Certified Gold: 1/4/72

The Concert for BanglaDesh is rock reaching for its manhood. Under the leadership of George Harrison, a group of rock musicians recognized, in a deliberate, self-conscious, and professional way, that they have responsibilities -- and went about dealing with them seriously:

My friend came to me,
With sadness in his eyes,
He told me that he wanted help,
Before his country died,
Although I couldn't feel the pain,
I knew I'd have to try,
Now I'm asking all of you,
To help us save some lies

One can ease the suffering with this link. Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129833
105. Ivansrvivr
12:23 PM GMT on November 17, 2007
55 simply means the A.C. got turned down a notch. I miss the cold winter weather. Thing with S.Florida, it wont even stay this moderate but a day and then back to 80 by 2morrow.
104. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
7:08 AM GMT on November 17, 2007
TROPICAL CYCLONE ARIEL WARNING NUMBER EIGHT ISSUED AT 6:00 AM UTC
=============================================

The Tempête Tropicale Modérée Ariel located at 11.6ºS 87.5ºE or 3,530 kms east-northeast of La Reunion's coast weakened into a depression tropicale with 10 min sustained winds of 30 knots with gusts up to 45 knots. The tropical depression remains quasi-stationary.

Central Pressure: 997 hPa

Dvorak Intensity: T2.5

Additional Information
=========================
Forecast Position and intensity

12 HRS - 12.0S 87.1E 30 kts
24 HRS - 12.3S 86.6E 30 kts


Ariel is quasi-stationry since 6pm 16November and the center has been relocated eastward this morning thanks to new available satellite imagery. System keeps on weakening and re-intensification seems to be unlikely at this stage. It should continue to move very slowly during the next 24 to 36 hours (Erratic motion is possible) before accelerating a little bit westward as it dissipates as a remnant low.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 52 Comments: 46908
103. CStaWeatherMan
6:01 AM GMT on November 17, 2007
The powerful storm by the name of Sidr really did it's damage to a intensely populated part of our world. It is showing us that we have a lot to be thankful for this year. Let us remember them in our thoughts and send good thoughts to them. Sidr had it's way by staying in shallow water and keeping it's strength before hitting land. It will now be destroyed as it climbs into the mountains but not before bringing massive amounts of rain.
Member Since: July 28, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 16
102. WPBWeatherBoy
4:29 AM GMT on November 17, 2007
its 55 degrees in west palm beach thats pretty cold to us floridians
Member Since: August 27, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 104
101. Rainman32
2:51 AM GMT on November 17, 2007
U.S. Navy Sends Two Ships After Cyclone Devastates Bangladesh

Nov. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Two U.S. Navy amphibious assault ships are on their way to Bangladesh after Tropical Cyclone Sidr slammed into the Ganges Delta, killing at least 1,100 people and making thousands more homeless.

The USS Essex and USS Kearsarge, each carrying helicopters, hovercraft and equipped with hospital facilities, have been dispatched, pending a formal request for help from the Bangladesh authorities, said Major David Griesmer, spokesman for the U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii. More ships may be made available once Bangladeshi officials know what they need, he said.
more...
Member Since: September 19, 2004 Posts: 32 Comments: 6123
100. mermaidlaw
2:48 AM GMT on November 17, 2007
Hello! It is down to 37f here! I am freezy.
Member Since: July 23, 2006 Posts: 20 Comments: 8820
99. Gatorxgrrrl
2:31 AM GMT on November 17, 2007
p
Member Since: May 10, 2007 Posts: 70 Comments: 15599
98. ricderr
2:14 AM GMT on November 17, 2007
excuse my off topic post....but is everyone else only able to view the featured posts?
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 676 Comments: 22349
97. CATAWIFE1
2:05 AM GMT on November 17, 2007
hello
Member Since: September 13, 2006 Posts: 27 Comments: 1739
96. mermaidlaw
1:52 AM GMT on November 17, 2007
I KNOW THIS IS WEATHER, AND I do CARE!! I just wondered if anyone can see me? I can't get into any blogs tonight! THANKS!
Member Since: July 23, 2006 Posts: 20 Comments: 8820
95. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
1:49 AM GMT on November 17, 2007
hello
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56021
94. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
1:42 AM GMT on November 17, 2007
T-MINUS 339hrs 15 mins
remain of the 2007 ALTA.HURR.Season
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56021
93. Gatorxgrrrl
1:39 AM GMT on November 17, 2007
test
Member Since: May 10, 2007 Posts: 70 Comments: 15599
92. moonlightcowboy
1:36 AM GMT on November 17, 2007
The weather is definitely here!
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29610
91. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
1:19 AM GMT on November 17, 2007
TROPICAL CYCLONE GUBA ADVICE NUMBER TEN ISSUED AT 0:00 AM UTC
=========================================

The Severe Tropical Cyclone Guba (CAT 3) located near 11.6S 146.9E or 470 kms east-northeast Lockhart River and 530 kms north-northeast of Cooktown had 10 minute sustained winds of 75 knots with gusts up to 95 knots moving northeast at 4 knots.

Severe Tropical Cyclone Guba is continuing to move erratically and is expected to remain fairly slow moving for the next two days.

Storm Warning Area
====================
25 NM from the storm's center

Gale Warning Area
==================
90 NM from the storm's center

Forecast Intensity
=================
12 hours = 975 hPa 60 knots
24 hours = 975 hPa 60 knots

TROPICAL CYCLONE WATCH/WARNING
====================================
The Cyclone WATCH for coastal and island communities between Lockhart River and Cape Tribulation has been cancelled.

Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 52 Comments: 46908
90. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
12:58 AM GMT on November 17, 2007
TROPICAL CYCLONE ARIEL WARNING NUMBER SEVEN ISSUED AT 0:00 AM UTC
==============================================

At 0:00 am UTC, The Forte Tempête Tropicalé Ariel located at 11.5ºS 87.3ºE or 3,515 kms east-northeast of La Reunion's coast weakened into a Tempête Tropicale Modérée with 10 min sustained winds of 40 knots and gusts up to 60 knots. The tropical storm remains quasi-stationary.

Dvorak Intensity: T3.0

Central Pressure: 990 hPa

Gale Warning Area
====================
90 NM radius from the storm center

Additional Information
=========================
Forecast Position and intensity

12 HRS - 11.6S 86.8E 40 kts
24 HRS - 11.9S 86.3E 40 kts

Ariel is quasi-stationary since 6pm UTC and the center has been relocated more northern thanks to new advailable satellite imagery. The system keeps on weakening within the next 24 hours and is actual constraints are expected to slacken and could also begin a new phasis of intensification. There is a strong dubiouness of the forecast track and also intensity due to another cyclongensis at this time very close to the vincinity of the Chagos.

Ariel is however expected to keep on tracking slowly globally southwestward then recurve west-northwest undergoing rebuilding subtropical high pressure in the southwest.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 52 Comments: 46908
89. floridafisherman
12:53 AM GMT on November 17, 2007
that alaska storm looks like a polar low
Member Since: August 28, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 551
87. Patrap
12:42 AM GMT on November 17, 2007
As
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129833
86. H2PV
12:27 AM GMT on November 17, 2007
With Hurricane Katrina, at T plus 24 hours the news media was still saying they dodged the bullet. The 1,100 dead in Bangladesh are counted bodies, not estimates or missing persons reports.

If America couldn't count it's own dead in 24 hours, with two navy ships in NOLA port waters, cell phones, internet, ham radio and all, don't expect better from Bangladesh. If Bangla had FEMA, it would still be three more days from now before they understand there are unfed survivors at the convention center.
85. Patrap
12:26 AM GMT on November 17, 2007
LSU esl page Link

Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129833
83. Patrap
11:10 PM GMT on November 16, 2007
1. New WMO/IWTC Statement on Tropical Cyclones and Climate Change

Given the high degree of interest in the possible relationship between climate change and tropical cyclones (including hurricanes and typhoons), a new summary statement on the topic has been developed by the global community of tropical cyclone researchers and forecasters as represented at the 6th International Workshop on Tropical Cyclones of the World Meteorological Organization (November 2006). A more comprehensive statement was also developed at the workshop.

The summary statement notes the following: "The surfaces of most tropical oceans have warmed by 0.25-0.5 degree Celsius during the past several decades. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) considers that the likely primary cause of the rise in global mean surface temperature in the past 50 years is the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations....

full story and more Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129833
82. Orcasystems
11:05 PM GMT on November 16, 2007
81. MichaelSTL 10:48 PM GMT on November 16, 2007
Question...In light of the very quiet seasons (for the U.S.) over the past 2 years, is it possible that the busy cycle that the experts have said we are in has ended?

Well... 2004 and 2005 were exceedingly abnormal (for the U.S.); how many storms hit in 2000, or 2001, or 2002? Only one hurricane (and a Cat 1 at that, though it was a Cat 4 hours before landfall) hit the U.S. in those three years combined, which also had 42 storms combined, with the worst U.S. storm being weak and mostly subtropical. Also, the first year of a strong La Nina tends to be bad mainly for Central America.....



My god its refreshing to see someone make a comparison versus previous years.. and not use the words "Global Warming" or "GB".

Cancun
1 month 18 days 18 hours 54 minutes :)
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
80. Patrap
10:41 PM GMT on November 16, 2007
Posted: November 16, 2007, 3:15 PM ET

Deadly Cyclone Ravages Coast of Bangladesh

More than 1,000 people are reportedly dead after a cyclone hit the coast of Bangladesh Thursday night, leveling homes with 150 mph winds and powerful waves, according to the United News of Bangladesh and the Associated Press.

Family near destroyed hut

The category 4 Tropical Cyclone Sidr caused a 15-foot high tidal surge and forced 3.2 million people to evacuate, officials and aid agencies told Reuters. Most of the deaths were caused by flimsy homes made from bamboo and tin collapsing or being crushed.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs told reporters in Geneva that 1,000 fishermen are missing.

"Significant damage is expected. However, information collection on casualty and damage figures is still very much in the early stages," spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs said.

The Bangladesh government initially put the death toll at 242, but acknowledged that making a count was difficult and that the numbers were expected to rise. The southern districts of Barguna and Jhalokati were hit the worst.

"I cannot describe how devastating it was. It was like doomsday, the most frightening five hours of my life. I thought I would never see my family again," businessman Mollik Tariqur Rahman told the AFP.

The government's disaster agency is also concerned about damage to the recent crop harvest.

By Friday morning, the cyclone was downgraded to a tropical storm, but some inland areas could still be at risk.

CNN meteorologist Kevin Corriveau said possible rainfall in the mountains would swell rivers, and by Sunday night or Monday the run-off could reach already flooded lands in the country.

Many of the country's 140 million people live on low-lying river deltas that are especially vulnerable to tidal surges and flooding.

Members of the Bangladesh Navy have started search and rescue efforts.

U.S. military officials said the Department of Defense was ready to dispatch Navy vessels and 3,500 Marines to the region, according to CNN.

Bangladesh and northeastern India are regularly hit by cyclones that form in the Bay of Bengal. A cyclone in 1970 left 500,000 people dead in Bangladesh.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129833
79. Floodman
10:25 PM GMT on November 16, 2007
Ordinarily the active cycles run 25-35 years...we're not out of the woods yet
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
77. Floodman
10:15 PM GMT on November 16, 2007
Sorry, dude...it's 67 here and I'm very unhappy about it...I ordered cold weather!
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
76. cchsweatherman
10:15 PM GMT on November 16, 2007
I have a question that I hope someone can answer.

I know that we are not allowed to advertise directly on the blogs, so I was thinking about sending an email to everyone with an offer regarding my site. How would I go about sending an email or message to everyone on the blogs?

I hope someone can answer that question and thanks in advance.
Member Since: April 14, 2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5169
75. NEwxguy
9:55 PM GMT on November 16, 2007
Mostly Cloudy

41°F
(5°C) Humidity: 47 %
Wind Speed: W 17 G 31 MPH
Barometer: 29.53" (1001.4 mb)
Dewpoint: 22°F (-6°C)
Wind Chill: 32°F (0°C)
Visibility: 10.00 mi.
More Local Wx: 3 Day History:
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 888 Comments: 15988
74. NEwxguy
9:54 PM GMT on November 16, 2007
73. Floodman 9:46 PM GMT on November 16, 2007
Cold, NE, think C-O-L-D

don't have to think flood,just have to walk outside
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 888 Comments: 15988
73. Floodman
9:46 PM GMT on November 16, 2007
Cold, NE, think C-O-L-D
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
72. NEwxguy
9:42 PM GMT on November 16, 2007
thats a pretty impressive storm in the gulf of alaska
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 888 Comments: 15988
71. Cavin Rawlins
9:17 PM GMT on November 16, 2007
Gulf of Alaska



Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
70. Scotchtape
9:12 PM GMT on November 16, 2007
decimus785
They need help, and they're getting it. Patrapshould be particularly proud of this, as, once again, the first on the scene from the United States, are 3,500 Marines! Semper Fi!(not a Marine, just tremendously proud of them).
Member Since: April 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 50

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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