Cyclone Management in India

Cyclone Management in India

Why Cyclone Management in India?

  • According to the Home ministry, 8% of total area in India is prone to cyclones. Natural disasters cause a loss of 2% of GDP every year in India.
  • Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) is the nodal agency for early warning of cyclones and floods.
  • Natural Disaster Management Authority is mandated to deal with the disaster management in India.

CYCLONES are atmospheric disturbances and are formed around a low-pressure area. It is distinguished by swift and often destructive air circulation. Geographically, it is classified into:

  1. Tropical cyclones
  2. Extra tropical /Temperate cyclones
  • Tropical cyclones are of thermal origin. That is, it owes its origin to the warmness of ocean water. It occurs between Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn. Whereas, the temperate cyclone is of frontal origin.
  • India with a long coastline of 7516.16 km is one of the worst affected regions, where it is exposed to around 10% of tropical cyclones in the world.

Tropical cyclone is the term used globally to cover tropical weather systems in which winds equal or exceed ‘gale force’ (minimum of 34 knot, i.e., 62 kmph)

  • It is an intense low-pressure centre associated with the convergence of wind rotating inwards to the low-pressure point forming a closed cyclonic vortex.  Coriolis force and the rapid inward circulation to the low-pressure area is the reason behind the formation of the cyclonic vortex.
  • Center of the low-pressure area is called EYE region where the atmosphere is calm. But the area around the eye region (eyewall) is associated with violent movement of wind.
  • It begins as a low-pressure area to a super cyclone depending on the speed of the wind. (check table below)
  • It consists of cumulonimbus cloud with torrential rainfall.
  • Tropical Cyclones occur in the months of May–June and October–November, with their primary peak in November and secondary peak in May. 
  • The frequency of cyclones in the North Indian Ocean Basin is bi-modal, which is specific to this region.
  • Thirteen coastal states and Union Territories (UTs) in the country, encompassing 84 coastal districts, are affected by tropical cyclones.
  • Four states (Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and West Bengal) and one UT (Puducherry) on the east coast and
  • One state (Gujarat) on the west coast are more vulnerable to hazards associated with cyclones.

About 8% of the area in the country is prone to cyclone-related disasters. Tropical cyclones are characterised by destructive winds, storm surges and very heavy rainfall, each one having its own impact on human and livestock, and their activities. Of these, storm surge is responsible for 90% of the loss of lives associated with cyclone disaster. Storm surge, which is a coastal phenomenon, is the inherent catastrophic feature of cyclones the world over.

  • The degree of disaster potential depends on the storm surge amplitude associated with the cyclone at the time of landfall, characteristics of the coast, phases of the tides and vulnerability of the area and community.


Cyclone Impact Mitigation:-

Although it is not possible to completely avoid natural disasters, their effects can be minimised by taking some known long- and short term structural and non-structural mitigation measures such as-

  • Developing proper early warning systems,
  • Creating awareness at all levels in the concerned communities,
  • Coastal afforestation,
  • Construction of shelters, embankments, dykes,
  • Coastal roads, bridges, canals, etc., through better preparedness, mitigation measures and improved response mechanisms.

Management of Cyclones

  • Structural Measures 

Construction of cyclone shelters, construction of cyclone resistant buildings, road links, bridges, canals, drains, saline embankments, communication and power transmission networks etc.

  • Non-Structural Measures

a) Early warning dissemination systems, management of coastal zones, awareness generation and disaster risk management and capacity building of all the stakeholders involved.

b) These measures are being adopted and tackled on State to State basis under National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project (NCRMP) being implemented through World Bank Assistance.


National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project:-

The National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project (NCRMP), to be implemented with financial assistance from the World Bank, is envisaged to have four major components:

  • Component A: Improvement of early warning dissemination system by strengthening the Last Mile Connectivity (LMC) of cyclone warnings and advisories.
  • Component B: Cyclone risk mitigation investments.
  • Component C: Technical assistance for hazard risk management and capacity building.
  • Component D: Project management and institutional support.


Institutional Structure:-

  • The Cabinet Committee on Management of Natural Calamities (CCMNC):
  • CCMNC has been constituted to oversee all aspects relating to the management of natural calamities, including assessment of the situation and identification of measures and programmes considered necessary to reduce its impact, monitor and suggest long-term measures for the prevention of such calamities formulate and recommend programmes for public awareness for building up society’s resilience to them.


  • At the district level, the District Disaster Management Authorities (DDMAs), which constitute the very bedrock of the entire DM apparatus, will be in charge of DM and will control and coordinate all line departments, i.e., police, fire services and any other form of support system as part of their response. In the planning stage, the Collector/District Magistrate/Deputy Commissioner will head all planning and preparedness exercises pertaining to DM.


Measures to be taken


Pre Disaster

  1. Provide cyclone forecasting, tracking and warning systems
  2. Construction of cyclone shelters, cyclone resistant buildings, road links, bridges, canals, drains etc.
  3. Establishing Early Warning Dissemination System (EWDS), and Capacity building for coastal communities.
  4. Mock drills, and training of local population and police by NDRF and SDRF
  5. Plantations of strong rooted trees, canopies, mangroves and proper vegetation cover which act as first line of defence.
  6. Proper drainage system throughout the city to discharge the water as soon as possible to avoid flood like conditions
  7. Use of NAVIC and RESOURCESAT-2 for disseminating coastal information and helping in disaster management.
  8. Implementation of National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project


During disaster

  1. Cautionary advice put out on social platforms urging people to stay safe can reduce the number of casualties as seen in Chennai during recent cyclone Vardha.
  2. Social media and the Internet, speedy official and community messages, creating online groups and sharing messages offering help and advice.
  3. Perception of people decides the intensity of disaster. If people take necessary proactive steps to deal with disaster then even the severe disaster can be dealt with minimum damage.
  4. Delivery of food and health care via mobile hospitals, with priorities to women child & elders.
  5. Protection of the community and their evacuation and quicker response.


Post disaster

  1. It is vital that the learning from each event is shared nationally, and the capacity of officials and communities to manage disasters built continuously.
  2. Among the securities available to individuals in many countries is insurance against property losses. Viable policies should be made available in India too.
  3. Providing alternative means of communication, energy and transport just after the disaster.


Over all Steps to be taken:-  

  • Establishing a state-of-the-art cyclone EWS involving observations, predictions, warnings and customised local-scale advice for decision-makers (national/state/district level) for managing the impact of cyclones
  • Expanding the warning dissemination outreach by using the services of Direct-To Home (DTH) transmission in remote and rural areas (Panchayats) which cannot be otherwise covered, to introduce weather channel and broadcast cyclone warnings from high-power coastal radio stations including the use of satellite radio service like World Space, Ham radios, community radio and VHF network
  • Establishing a comprehensive Cyclone Disaster Management Information System (CDMIS) covering all phases of DM to provide on-line services to the departments of Disaster Management in the states
  • Structural safety of lifeline infrastructure in coastal areas
  • Establishing a robust system of locating multi-purpose cyclone shelters and cattle mounds
  • Ensuring cyclone resistant design standards are incorporated in the rural/ urban housing schemes in coastal areas
  • Regulating infrastructure and development activities in coastal zones
  • Mapping and delineation of coastal wetlands, patches of mangroves and shelter belts
  • Developing Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) frameworks for addressing the sustainability and optimal utilisation of coastal resources as also cyclone impact minimisation plans
  • Implementing coastal flood zoning, flood plain development and flood inundation management
  • Evolving eco-system restoration plans for degraded ecological zones
  • Developing integrated hazard mitigation framework taking into account cyclone and associated storm surge, wind hazard, rainfall-runoff, river flood.
  • To overcome the power cut it is important to have rooftop solar and battery storage systems as supplementary power sources for households and corporates.
  • Planting trees with strong root systems and pruning the canopy ahead of cyclone season could reduce uprooting.
  • Government should restore infrastructure and provide priority relief to the families of those who lost their lives, and the worst-hit communities.
  • Efficient use of technology and implementation of the Sendai framework is the need to the hour
  • Collaboration with other countries in the region to strengthen the cooperation and efforts and to make a common fund for disaster management.
  • Construction of multipurpose cyclone shelters, access roads, saline embankments and underground
  • By taking long and short term mitigation measures, the loss of life and property can be minimized.

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