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Cyclone Hudhud Makes Landfall North of Visakhapatnam
Oct 13, 2014

The eye of very severe cyclonic storm Hudhud crossed the East coast of india at INS Kalinga, North of Vishakhapatnam, between Vishakhapatnam and Bheemilipatnam on 12 October  at about 11.30 a.m. The cyclone had been moving at a speed of approx 20 kmph with wind speeds of the order of 180 kmph. The winds reduced considerably as the eye of the storm passed over the region. 

The Eastern Naval Command had been put on high alert to provide any assistance towards rescue and relief of affected persons. Towards this end the preparations made included readying ships, aircraft and diving teams. Indian Naval Ships Ranjit, Shivalik, Shakti and Airavat are ready to sail with relief material for 5000 personnel embarked onboard the ships. Additionally, four more ships have been kept ready for sailing at short notice for relief operations as required. Two Dornier fixed wing aircraft and six helicopters are also ready for deployment and one Long range Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft (P 8I) has also kept standby for carrying out damage assessment once the cyclone passes and wind speeds reduce. 

In the meantime naval diving teams have been deployed in and around Vishakhapatnam for carrying out rescue and relief operations. As many as 14 diving teams have been deployed to Srikakulam, Ankapalle, and around Vizag. Additional 30 teams are ready for deployment at short notice as required. 

In addition approximately 250 NDRF and 300 Army troops have been deployed in/around Visakhapatnam. Army columns have also been deployed in North Andhra at Achutapuram, Palasa and at Etcherla. The IAF has provided a mobile communication team as part of the contingency preparedness procedure. The IAF mobile communication team has been kept standby at INS Circars. 

The naval base at Vishakhapatnam has seen some storm damage with approximately 30-40% trees uprooted inside Naval Station and some naval installations on Dolphin Hill have suffered damage.

How Cyclones Named: The cyclone that hit India's south-eastern coast on 12 October afternoon got its name in Oman? The name Hudhud in Arabic refers to the Hoopoe bird.

Hurricanes and tropical cyclones in the Atlantic have had their own names since 1953, a convention begun by Miami's National Hurricane Centre and maintained and updated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a Geneva-based agency of the United Nations. But naming came to South Asia and the Middle East only recently. For years cyclones that originated in the north Indian ocean were anonymous affairs. 

It was just too controversial to do the same around the North Indian Ocean One of the reasons was that in an ethnically diverse region it was needed to be very careful and neutral in picking up the names so that it did not hurt the sentiments of people. But finally in 2004 they clubbed together and agreed on their favourite names.  8 countries—India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Sri Lanka and Thailand  took part. They came up with a list of 64 names—8 names from each country for upcoming cyclones.

The list goes alphabetically, according to each country. The last cyclone in the region was Nanauk in June this year, a name contributed by Myanmar. Last year, Phailin, the name for a massive cyclone which battered India's south-eastern coast was provided by Thailand. Some of the Indian names in the queue are the more prosaic Megh (Cloud), Sagar (Ocean) and Vayu (Wind).

Names can be suggested by the general public in the member country or by the government. India, for example, welcomes suggestions on the condition that the name must be short and readily understood when broadcast, not culturally sensitive and not convey some unintended and potentially inflammatory meaning.

Next time a cyclone hits the region, it's Pakistan's turn to give it a name. It will be called Nilofar. Last time Pakistan named a cyclone was Nilam in November 2012. The names will not dry up anytime soon. Hudhud is possibly the 34th name of the list, which means there are 30 more in the queue. 

The panel of cyclone experts meets every year, and they will be replenishing the list whenever the need arises. 


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