BHUBANESWAR : The Eastern Ghats may have just saved Odisha from the ferocity of tropical storm Hud Hud which battered Visakhapatnam and other regions of northern Andhra Pradesh on Sunday.
The very severe cyclonic storm which hit coastal Andhra Pradesh with a peak wind speed 195 km per hour banged against the hilly regions reducing the wind speed during its progression. As a result, adjoining districts such as Gajapati, Koraput and Ganjam were hit by gales of moderate speed.
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), wind speed at Gopalpur was recorded at about 60 km. Puri too recorded wind of similar speed, as did Malkangiri, the southern most district.
The drop in the wind speed could be attributed to the hilly regions where the storm hit, Director of IMD, Odisha Sarat Chandra Sahu said. The hills not only acted as a natural barrier but also led to a change in pressure value which is very vital to a cyclone, he said.
“Once the wind hit the hills, it went up in altitude and then lost temperature triggering rain. However, when the wind climbs down, its pressure value rose which explains the phenomenon. Higher pressure does not support the cyclone’s nature,” Sahu said.
The hills also may have changed the direction of the wind as well as the speed at which Hud Hud was progressing. “If you noticed its speed in the morning, it travelled very fast. At one point, it moved at a pace of 20 km per hour but after land fall, it slowed down,” the IMD, Director said.
Hud Hud which made its landfall at about noon hours, barely travelled 65 km in the last eight hours and in the process it also lost much of its intensity.
The IMD forecast that, Hud Hud while crossing Odisha’s southern part would induce wind speed of 70-80 kmph gusting to 90 kmph over Koraput, Malkangiri, Nabarangpur and Rayagada districts before losing strength.
It is slated to become insignificant in the subsequent 12 hours. In that period, squally wind speed reaching upto 50-60 kmph gusting to 70 kmph may prevail along and off Ganjam and Gajapati districts.
Interestingly, international agencies had predicted that peak wind speed would reach 252 km during landfall and Odisha may be hit by gale reaching 120 km. The IMD, though, had adopted caution in its prediction and kept the peak speed at 80-90 km per hour for Odisha districts and its forecasts came closest to accurate.