VISAKHAPATNAM: The trees uprooted by cyclone Hudhud are exhibiting a phenomenon not seen before in the port city. About a week after the cyclone hit the city, the leaves have started turning black. Residents are shocked to witness this and speculation is rife that it is due to the heat generated by strong winds during the cyclone, while a few are claiming that it was due to acid content in the rain. However, experts have rubbished both the theories.
More than 20 lakh trees were felled by cyclone Hudhud in the city and its surroundings, while lakhs of other trees were badly broken. It was observed that leaves got separated from the trees due to wind speeding at over 200 kmph and many trees were uprooted partially. There were trees with broken branches. Tree trunks turned dry over the last one week and the leaves on such trees started turning black as the days passed, giving jitters to the people. Not many observed this until two to three days after the cyclone struck the city.
“We heard that lightening has struck many trees turning them into black. There are also rumours that the atmospheric pollution in the city got mixed with rain, resulting in chemical reactions which turned poisonous for trees,” said Ajay Malla, a student and resident of Madhurawada. However, professors at Andhra University and Gitam University, who are studying the phenomenon, termed it natural. “Heavy winds speeding up to 200 kmph, containing salt carried from the sea are likely to have turned the green leaves black. The dry look of trees can be attributed to the cyclone and a normal rain can bring them back to life,” said Prof M Venkaiah from the botany department of Andhra University.
Gitam University botany professor N Srinivas said the trees might look dry, but are alive. “Unless they are completely uprooted, the trees have a good chance of sprouting new leaves after rain. Till then, trees can store water in their body and sustain for a while and there could be a visible change within three months,” he added. The experts felt that the trees which are standing tall but lost leaves should be left to regenerate themselves.