Cyclonic Storm Mahasen
Cyclonic Storm Mahasen was a relatively weak tropical cyclone that caused loss of life across six countries in Southern and Southeastern Asia. Originating from an area of low pressure over the southern Bay of Bengal in early May, Mahasen slowly organized. Remaining nearly stationary, it consolidated into a depression on May 10. Gradually gaining forward momentum, the depression attained gale-force winds on May 11 and was designated as Cyclonic Storm Mahasen, the first named storm of the season. Owing to adverse atmospheric conditions, the system struggled to maintain organized convection as it moved closer to eastern India. On May 14, the exposed circulation of Mahasen turned northeastward. The following day, conditions again allowed for the storm to intensify. Early on May 16, the cyclone attained its peak intensity with winds of 85 km/h (50 mph) and a barometric pressure of 988 mbar . Shortly thereafter Mahasen made landfall near Chittagong, Bangladesh. The system was last noted on May 17 as it moved over the eastern Indian state of Nagaland. The name Mahasen stirred some controversy from nationalists and officials in Sri Lanka. They claimed that the name comes from King Mahasena of Anuradhapura who brought prosperity to the island, thus naming a destructive force of nature after him would be improper. As such, Sri Lankan agencies referred to the system as a nameless cyclone and requested that international agencies do the same. Cyclone Mahasen has struck the southern coast of Bangladesh, lashing remote fishing villages with heavy rain and fierce winds that flattened mud and straw huts and forced the evacuation of more than 1 million people. The main section of the storm reached land on Thursday and immediately began weakening, according to Mohammad Shah Alam, director of the Bangladesh meteorological department. However, its forward movement was also slowing, meaning that towns in its path would have to weather the storm for longer,...
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