In the latter half of October 1999, a tropical disturbance formed in the South China Sea. As the system tracked westward, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) issued a Tropical Cyclone Formation Alert (TCFA) out of concern that the system could significantly develop. When it failed to do so, the alert was discontinued. Then, on 25 October, the system became organized and another TCFA was issued. It was determined shortly after that a tropical depression had formed over the Malay Peninsula, Malaysia. As Tropical Depression 05B tracked northwestward over the warm waters of the Bay of Bengal and in conditions of low wind shear, it became a tropical storm. On 27 October, the storm intensified into a cyclone. Continued strengthening occurred, and on 28 October, the cyclone was at peak intensity with winds of 257 km/h (160 mph) – a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. This intense of a cyclone is very rare in the northern Indian Ocean. In fact, this cyclone was the first to be given the label “super cyclonic storm” by the India Meteorological Department.
Satellite image of Orissa Cyclone in Bay of Bengal. Source: NOAA On 29 October, the cyclone made landfall near the city of Bhubaneswar, in the state of Orissa, India. Maximum sustained surface wind speeds at landfall were estimated at 260 km/h (162 mph), and the minimum central pressure was estimated to be 912 mb (hPa). After landfall, the cyclone was unable to move far inland due to the presence of a subtropical ridge to its north. The storm stalled about 48 km (30 mi) inland for over a day while it continued to slowly weaken. On 31 October, the now tropical storm, re-entered the Bay of Bengal. It soon after became a tropical depression and gradually weakened until it dissipated over the open waters of the Bay on 3 November.
This cyclone caused great damage in India. Its re-curving track and relatively slow movement caused huge amounts of rainfall over the area, averaging around...
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