BHUBANESWAR: Tornado, severe thunder storm, or Norwester? What swept across a dozen villages in Kendrapara’s Rajkanika block last afternoon claiming about 20 lives and leaving the area in tatters is undefined yet.
A day after the violent storm-like system hit the coastal villages, experts were trying to ascertain if Orissa has reasons to worry about such nastiness of nature in future.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) rushed an analyst to Rajkanika to gather data about the circulation. While it’s yet to be ascertained if there was any official record of the wind speed, preliminary assessment suggested it must have been in the region of 200 km an hour.
The great force with which the system hit the entire area twisting electric poles, ripping apart houses and lifting up vehicles in air, experts believe, it may have ‘tornado-like features.’ US faces brunt of tornados - Texas, Oklahoma and Florida reporting the most - but such phenomena are not entirely uncommon in this part although their number is very low.
Going by available statistics, Bandhagada under Keonjhar district was hit by a tornado in 1978 while another such violent system was recorded at Jaleswar in 1998.
‘‘If one goes by the conditions which favour tornados, Bangaldesh and parts of North East record such circulations. It is a rare happening in Orissa,’’ IMD Director SC Sahu said.
In fact, IMD’s doppler radar had warned of thunderstorms in coastal pockets like Kendrapara, Jajpur, Balasore, Bhadrak on Tuesday. While Kendrapara saw the tornado-like system, a hailstorm hit Chandbali.
What experts are looking for are features that typify a tornado such as the funnel-shaped coloumn of air with a bend, the force of air, diameters of the circulation.
The ‘Glossary of Meterology’ defines a tornado as a violently rotating column of air which forms a contact with the ground either pendant from a cumuliform cloud or underneath a cumuliform cloud. It is often visible as a funnel cloud but may not be so always. On a local scale, tornado is the most intense of all atmospheric circulations, it says.
Tornados record wind speeds from 40 mile per hour to as high as 300 mile at times.