My Name is “Fani” and I Am Not At All “Funny”


The extremely severe cyclonic storm had created havoc in Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and several other southern states. This storm is named after the as Cyclone “Fani” (pronounced as “Foni”). The word “Foni” traces its origin from the land of Bengal and refers to ‘snake’ or ‘hood of snake’. This is the first severe cyclonic storm of 2019 cyclone season of North Indian Ocean which originated from a tropical depression which was formed near the west of Sumatra in the Indian Ocean. Usually, the wind speed of such cyclones goes up to 90 kmph, but the recorded speed of this beast was over 195 kmph.

Odisha along with the West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh, with the support of central government initiated one of the biggest rescue and relief operation in the world. Over a million people from Odisha were evacuated to safer places. This approach of “zero casualties” which was adopted by the government was even praised by the United Nations.

Denis McClean, a spokesperson for the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (ODRR) said at a news briefing in Geneva, “They (Indian government) seem to have done a very good job in terms of minimising the possibility for loss of life.” He added, “The almost pinpoint accuracy of the warnings, the early warnings from the IMD (Indian Meteorological Department), allows them to conduct a very well-targeted evacuation plan which resulted in 1.1 million people mainly moving to about 900 cyclone shelters.”

Nomenclature of Cyclone

Several South Asian countries of the world including Sri Lanka, India, Maldives, Oman, Pakistan, Thailand and Myanmar send the list of prospective names of cyclones developing in the North Indian Ocean to a regional committee. Currently, each country suggests eight names for the cyclones that are likely to originate in the future. The name “Fani” was chosen from a list of 64 names and was suggested by Bangladesh. The next cyclone would be named after Indian suggestion as “Vayu”.

There is a well-defined process laid by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to select the names of the cyclones. The idea to name the cyclone was originated after the authorities had a tough time to use technical names and send warning signals to the people. Just for the sake of knowledge, the Cyclone “Titli” which struck Andhra and some parts of Odisha last year was named by Pakistan.

How was Cyclone Fani Located?

It all began when IMD tracked a depression in the west of Sumatra and classified it as BOB 02 on April 26. Later that day, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) issued an alert of Tropical Cyclone Formation on the system. The next day, the storm moved northward and was upgraded to a deep depression. At the same time, the JTWC began warning and designated it 01B. Six hours later, the IMD upgraded the system to a cyclonic storm and gave it the name Fani.




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