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September 8, 2015

Lightning strikes kill 22 in Andhra Padesh, India

Lightning strikes kill 22 in Andhra Padesh, India

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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

File photo of lightning striking the ground.
Image: Kószó József.

22 people have been killed in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh and a women’s cricket match has been interrupted due to lightning strikes during thunderstorms on Sunday. Most of the casualties were farmers, who worked in their fields despite the thunderstorms.

Officials blamed a low pressure system over the Bay of Bengal for causing the heavy thunderstorms, which affected eight districts of Andhra Pradesh.

Lightning during the storm killed a woman and her daughter-in-law while they were working on their farm, according to newspaper The Hindu. At another farm, a man was killed while drilling a well during the storms.

Lightning interrupted a women’s cricket team match by striking a nearby tree. The match was stopped mid-game, and both players and spectators fled the scene. The escape was “miraculous”, according to a cricket official in the area where the match occurred.

Even though the storms occurred during the monsoon season, when lightning strikes occur more frequently due to an increased amount of precipitation, the number of lightning-related casualties from Sunday’s storms was considered by local authorities to be unexpectedly high.



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October 14, 2013

Wikinews interviews meteorological experts on Cyclone Phalin

Wikinews interviews meteorological experts on Cyclone Phalin

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Monday, October 14, 2013

Cyclone Phailin over the Bay of Bengal on October 11.
Image: NASA.

Half-a-million people have fled their homes in and around the Indian state of Orissa after Cyclone Phailin made landfall.

Wikinews interviewed specialists in meteorology about the devastation the cyclone has caused.

Interviewees

Wikinews interviewed:

  • Michael Richman, Professor in the School of Meteorology at the University of Oklahoma in the United States
  • John Snow, Regents’ Professor of Meteorology and Dean Emeritus of the College of Atmospheric and Geographic Services at the University of Oklahoma
  • Ramalingam Saravanan, Professor of Atmospheric Science at Texas A&M University
  • Fuqing Zhang, Professor in the Department of Meteorology at Pennsylvania State University
  • David Titley, a Senior Scientist and founding Director of the Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk at Pennsylvania State University
  • Paul Knight, a Senior Lecturer in Meteorology at the Pennsylvania State University
  • Mark Morrissey, Professor of Meteorology at the University of Oklahoma

Wikinews Q&A

File photo of interviewee Mark Morrissey.
Image: Mark Morrissey.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png What is your job role?

Richman: Professor in the School of Meteorology [at the University of Oklahoma].
Snow: I am a Regents’ Professor of Meteorology and Dean Emeritus of the College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences [at the University of Oklahoma].
Saravanan:I am a professor of atmospheric science at Texas A&M University, specializing in computer modeling of climate and weather phenomena, including hurricanes.
Zhang: I am a Professor in the Department of Meteorology with a courtesy joint appointment in the Department of Statistics [at Pennsylvania State University]. My current research focuses on the dynamics, prediction and predictability of tropical cyclones.
Titley: I am a Senior Scientist and founding Director of the Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk at Penn State. I was awarded my Ph.D. in Meteorology from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California for work in tropical cyclone intensification.
Knight: I am a senior lecturer in Meteorology [at Pennsylvania State University] and the Pennsylvania State Climatologist.
Morrissey: I’m a professor of Meteorology at the Univ of Oklahoma. I specialize in tropical meteorology (and teach courses in that too).

File photo of interviewee David Titley.
Image: David Titley.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Cyclone Phailin has winds that have been measured at 200km/h, as it surges over land will it begin to lose strength?

Richman: Yes, all tropical cyclones are driven by high heat content waters. Once a storm moves over any appreciably sized piece of land, the moisture source is removed and the storm begins to dissipate. As of the last advisory, TC Phailin has winds of 190 kilometers per hour and has moved inland, headed on a northwest track. That is a Category 3 storm. The forecast is for a continued decline in strength to a tropical storm within 24 hours and a tropical depression within 36 hours. However, there will be very heavy rains and flooding along its path.
Snow: Yes, it will loose strength steadily as more and more of this swirling system moves from being over ocean to being over land. This occurs for two reasons:
1) As it moves over land, it is cut off from the source of energy driving the storm [which is] the evaporation of water from the warm sea surface;
2) Increased friction — the ocean surface is much, much smoother than the land surface.
Saravanan: Tropical cyclones are sustained by a form of energy called latent heat, which is released by moisture evaporated from the ocean that condenses to form rain. As tropical cyclones make landfall, this energy source is cut-off and they rapidly lose strength as they move over land.
Zhang: Yes, the Cyclone is almost certain to lose strength as it surges over land. Cyclones gather their strength through scraping moisture and heat from warm ocean water that it is not the case over land. In the mean time, much stronger friction over land quickly reduces their strength.
Titley: Yes. All tropical cyclones lose strength once they make landfall. However, they can remain dangerous storms due to very heavy rains and subsequent landslides, and river flooding.
Knight: Phailin’s winds will rapidly weaken as it pushes inland.
Morrissey: Once Cyclone Phailin comes on shore it will immediately begin to lose strength. However, and this is important, it still will contain lots of rainfall making flooding an almost certainty.

File photo of interviewee R Saravanan.
Image: R Saravanan.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png A previous cyclone in 1999 in the Bay of Bengal area of India left 10,000 people dead. Is the Indian government well prepared to deal with this cyclone?

Richman: I have not followed that aspect of the societal response for the present storm. However, historically, there have been several events that should cause a societal response. Hopefully, we all learn from past mistakes. The history of strong cyclones and death in the region is notable, with at least 5 large cyclone events in the past 35 years with 10,000 and as many as 300,000 people killed, millions left homeless and estimated damages as high as US$10 billion.
Snow: I don’t have enough information to answer this question, one way or the other.
Saravanan: From all the press reports that I have read, the Indian government appears to have taken the threat of Cyclone Phailin very seriously indeed. The government has been much more pro-active in preparing for this cyclone than in the past. The forecasts of cyclone track and intensity have been fairly accurate. Mandatory mass evacuations have been carried out, which is essential to minimize loss of life in these situations. Unfortunately, extensive property damage is bound to occur even with the best preparation.
Zhang: My knowledge of the responsiveness of the Indian government to this storm is purely from the cyber space. I heard that they orchestrated the largest people evacuation to a natural disaster in Indian history. This shall be applauded given the size and strength of Phailin. I visited the damaged area of the 1999 storm near Bhubaneshwar in the summer of 2012 for an invited symposium and summer school on tropical cyclones […] sponsored by the Indian government. Given the living standard and residence of people living near the coastal areas in this region, the evacuation is certainly necessary and essential to save lives.
Titley: I cannot comment directly on how the Indian government was prepared for this cyclone. However, the news reports (BBC etc.) were very encouraging in that the authorities were reportedly making strenuous efforts to evacuate the population from near the coast and areas that are prone to flooding. Water is the main killer in these storms.
Knight: From all reports that I have seen, the government was well prepared for this cyclone.
Morrissey: For this question I don’t know the ‘preparedness’ of the Indian gov’t to deal with this.

File photo of interviewee Michael Richman.
Image: Michael Richman.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Despite it being the Monsoon season in India, are cyclones of this power and magnitude unusual in India?

Richman: Since the Bay of Bengal is very warm, and the environmental conditions associated with the storm along most of its recent track were conducive to strengthening, it was an expected and well-forecast outcome. In general, the Indian Ocean has been undergoing a gradual warming over the past two decades […] and, the warmer the water, the higher the heat content and the higher the potential is for a very strong tropical cyclone. Phailin intensified rapidly when moving into a low wind-shear environment. It became a Category 5 cyclone, which is rare. However, if the Indian Ocean continues to warm, it may become less rare to see high-end cyclones. The only caveat I have is that takes only one of several factors detrimental to storms to prevent a tropical cyclone from intensifying this way. Wind shear or ingesting dry air are two, for example. We saw this in 2013 with the Atlantic hurricane season. There were waves of Saharan dust and dry air that damped the season, despite warm sea surface temperatures. Everything has to line up just right to get a category 5 cyclone. That is what makes prediction of tropical cyclone frequency and strength so difficult under global warming projections. However, the data […] suggest that the Indian Ocean is warming.
Snow: I am basing my answer on reports I have seen in the popular news media. Taking what was reported at face value, this is a super-typhoon/cyclone. Cyclones of this level of intensity (as measured by top wind speed and central pressure value) are very, very rare. Everywhere, including near India.
Saravanan: In terms of average numbers, major cyclones are less frequent in the Indian Ocean than some other regions of the world, such as the Caribbean or the Gulf of Mexico. However, Cyclone Phailin cannot be considered unusual because storms of similar power have occurred in the past. In fact, many of the deadliest cyclones in the world have occurred in the Indian Ocean region. The high death tolls have more to do with high population density and poor infrastructure than with the actual strength of the storms.
Zhang: It is the strongest in 14 years so in this sense it is certainly rare in India. Also, there are indications that in recent years cyclone activities in the Bay of Bengal have been in a decline.
Titley: Cyclones of this power and magnitude, while infrequent, are by no means unprecedented in the Bay of Bengal. They are most common in the transition seasons between the Winter and Summer Monsoon seasons, like now.
Knight: This is a very strong cyclone, but not unprecedented.
Morrissey: Actually cyclones are more prevalent during the onset and retreat of the monsoon. So, in the Bay of Bengal a tropical cyclone at this time is not unusual.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Some forecasters have likened Cyclone Phailin’s size and intensity to Hurricane Katrina which devastated the US Gulf Coast in 2005, would you agree?

Richman: Yes. See above. Katrina was also in a low shear environment over high heat content waters passing over a loop current in the Gulf of Mexico and responded by intensifying to a category 5 hurricane. Also, a second similarity is that Katrina encountered some shear and slightly cooler water before making landfall and crossed the Louisiana coast as a category 3 hurricane, similar to Phailin.

File photo of interviewee John Snow.
Image: John Snow.

Snow: From what I have seen and heard on the popular media, in terms of winds Phalin will be a much more intense storm than Katrina at landfall. Katrina was actually weakening rapidly as it came ashore. Phalin looks to be at a much higher intensity as it approach[es] land. The last few hours will tell.
Where a comparison with Katrina may be [of] value is with respect to the magnitude of the storm surge. Katrina’s winds drove an enormous surge of water (10+ meters above high tide) ashore to the east of New Orleans. My understanding from media reports is that Phalin may produce a surge of similar magnitude over a long stretch of coast.
Saravanan: The size and the intensity of Cyclone Phailin are roughly comparable to Hurricane Katrina, although Phailin may be somewhat weaker overall. The actual intensity of Phailin at landfall is still uncertain, because it is difficult to measure cyclone intensity accurately using only satellite information. One of the problems with the response to Katrina in the United States was that some residents in the vulnerable regions failed to heed the warnings and evacuations were not well coordinated. The sheer scale of the damage caused by Katrina was also not anticipated very well. Hopefully, the response to Phailin would have benefited from the lessons learned from Katrina.
Zhang: It certainly has some similarity in that regard though Katrina was still stronger with a longer history over the ocean.
Titley: Each Hurricane, or Cyclone, is unique and the impacts depend not only on the cyclone itself but also upon the specific area of the coast where it makes landfall. But in the sense that Phailin was a large and potentially dangerous storm, then yes there are similarities with Katrina. Perhaps a better analogy is the hurricane that struck Charleston, South Carolina in 1989: Hurricane Hugo also had winds around 200 km/h and was a large storm when it made landfall.
Knight: Phailin and Katrina have some similarities, especially in their size.
Morrissey: Since Cyclone Phailin has already hit one can easily say ‘oh it wasn’t as bad as Katrina’. However, the amount of damage has a lot to do with the coastline shape, height, whether rivers are nearby,etc. For example, Bangladesh has the Ganges which floods due to heavy rain at the same time as the cyclone-induced storm surge, so it is very prone to heavy damage.

File photo of interviewee Paul Knight.
Image: Paul Knight.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png The evacuation is one of the biggest exercises in India’s history. Do you think that this as well as the clear-up to follow will cost a lost of money?

Richman: Any action costs money. In 1995, in the US, we had Katrina, with an inadequate evacuation and then the levees were breached. That had a huge cost in terms of thousands of lives lost and billions of dollars in damage. Later in that same season, hurricane Rita was forecast to cross the Texas coast and hit Houston. A massive evacuation took place and then the storm missed Houston. However, there were deaths and loss of money because of the evacuation. What needs to evaluate is the relative cost of the a good forecast versus those of a missed forecast versus the costs of a false alarm forecast. There is no free lunch when you move millions of people.
Snow: While I don’t know any particulars re India, the clean-up and fix-up after any great disaster anywhere is always expensive, e.g., Haiti after the most recent earthquake.
Saravanan: Yes, the evacuations and the follow-up relocations will cost a lot of money, but it will certainly be worth it in terms of the number of lives saved. This was one of the lessons learned from Katrina in the U.S. I moved to my present job in Texas in July 2005, just before Katrina struck the near-by Louisiana coast in August 2005. As I mentioned earlier, the evacuations for Katrina were carried out poorly. After Katrina, when another powerful hurricane called Rita approached the same region in September 2005, evacuation warnings were taken very seriously. Many people returned after the evacuations with little damage to their homes, but felt that it was better to be safe than sorry, despite the cost and inconvenience of the evacuation.
Zhang: Yes, it has and it will but the evacuation is certainly necessary and the clear-up is unavoidable.
Titley: No doubt the evacuation and subsequent clean up will cost a lot of money. Hopefully as communities rebuild they can take into account the lessons learned from such powerful cyclones and make their communities and infrastructure increasingly resilient to these types of storms. Because you either “pay me now or pay me later” when fixing and repairing the damage.
Knight: All strong cyclones require an immense effort to help people get out of harm’s way and then to clean up its path of destruction, and Phailin will be no exception.
Morrissey: I’m sure that the evacuation was costly, but it probably saved many lives. The cyclone was a category 4, very strong.

File photo of interviewee Fuqing Zhang.
Image: Fuqing Zhang.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Would you expect the death toll to continue to rise?

Richman: No doubt this will be the case. If you use either Hurricane Katrina or Sandy as a template, some people do not evacuate in time and then the two leading causes of death are storm surge or floods. As the storm moved inland, flooding can continue for several days and all the water will flood river until it enters the Bay of Bengal.
Snow: Again, I don’t know particulars, but if people failed to evacuate or were unable to get far enough inland and/or to higher ground, then yes, one would expect additional casualties.
Saravanan: I am not an expert on the human impacts of landfalling tropical cyclones, but I am hoping that the evacuations were largely successful and the inevitable increase in death toll noted as rescue workers return to the affected regions will not be too high.
Zhang: Yes, certainly but hope the preparation by the people and the government will considerably reduce the death toll by orders of magnitude compared to 1999.
Titley: I hope not. So far the numbers of fatalities reported in the press have been very low. I hope these numbers do not rise further, but the authorities are busy returning to the hardest-hit areas so we will see. The very preliminary numbers of low fatalities gives hope though that many citizens heeded their authorities’ pleas for action and evacuation. I hope that turns out to be the real story and lesson from Phailin — strong cyclones do not have to be killer cyclones.
Knight: Unfortunately, inland flooding will likely add to the death toll.
Morrissey: Yes. Unfortunately, the death toll for Katrina continued to rise as searchers went house to house. But the early news for Cyclone Phailin is encouraging.



Sources

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This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.
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October 24, 2010

Cyclone Giri makes landfall in Myanmar, kills one

Cyclone Giri makes landfall in Myanmar, kills one

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Tropical cyclones – 2010

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  • Hurricane Richard makes landfall in Belize
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  • Tropical storm Richard nears hurricane strength, soaks Honduras
  • Cyclone Giri makes landfall in Myanmar, kills one
…More articles here

Hurricane Earl 2010-09-02 1529Z.jpg

External/Inter-wiki links
  • 2010 Atlantic hurricane season
  • List of tropical cyclones
  • Wikipedia’s entry on tropical cyclones
  • Wikitionary’s definition of a tropical cyclone

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Satellite image of Cyclone Giri approaching Myanmar
Image: NASA.

At least one person is dead and many more are missing as Cyclone Giri made landfall in Myanmar at around 8:00 pm local time (0130 UTC), according to officials. Giri strengthened just before making landfall in the capital of the Rakhine State, Sittwe, according to local media. An offical reported that a woman was killed in Minpyar when a tree collapsed, but he had not heard of anymore deaths yet. It was also reported that 100 fishermen are missing after the storm caught them in the northeastern Bay of Bengal.

The hardest hit area was the coastal town of Kyaukphyu, which suffered power loss and destruction of its seawall. A Red Cross worker reported that about 70% of the city had been destroyed and there were 60,000 people who were in need of help, however no deaths were reported. “Fishermen and people there have had time to move to safer places as disaster measures were already in place,” he said. “Our office in Kyaukphyu was destroyed by a falling tree… we have had problems getting transport and the latest data but are trying to reach the affected areas as soon as possible.”

Giri also produced wave heights of 7 to 8 meters (23-26 feet) which forced residents of St Martin’s island and Teknaf to move to shelters. According to a resident of Sittwe, “the authorities warned us with loudspeakers yesterday to prepare for the cyclone, so people had time to move safer places.” The strongest winds moved through the area on Saturday afternoon and then moved northeastward through the center of the country. Department of Meteorology and Hydrology stated that Giri is expected to weaken to a moderate tropical storm as it moves further inland.

Full Wikinews coverage of the 2010 hurricane season



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May 25, 2009

Cyclone in Bay of Bengal kills at least 17

Cyclone in Bay of Bengal kills at least 17

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Monday, May 25, 2009

India
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A cyclone struck coastal areas of Bangladesh and India, causing flooding. At least seventeen people have been killed as a result of the storm, and thousands have been left homeless.

Location of India
Image: Ssolbergj.

Winds reaching 100 kilometres per hour in Kolkata, the capital of India’s West Bengal province, have uprooted trees and destroyed communication lines.

“The situation is very grave, countless families have been displaced, especially in the Sundarbans,” said Kanti Ganguly, the state minister of the Sundarbans region of Western Bengal.

Airport operations in Kolkata were stopped as a result of the inclement weather; several Kolkata-bound flights were diverted elsewhere, and flights scheduled to depart were cancelled.

Cquote1.svg “This isn’t an unusually strong cyclone and we don’t expect damage to be widespread.” Cquote2.svg

—Ajith Tyagi

The India Meteorological Department has said that the cyclone will likely subside within 24 hours. “We expect the wind speed to peak in the next 24 hours. This isn’t an unusually strong cyclone and we don’t expect damage to be widespread,” said the department’s director general, Ajith Tyagi.



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March 23, 2008

Wikinews Shorts: March 23, 2008

Wikinews Shorts: March 23, 2008 – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews Shorts: March 23, 2008

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A compilation of brief news reports for Sunday, March 23, 2008.

Random drive-by shooting kills 7, injures 16 in Baghdad

At least seven people have died and sixteen more are injured after gunman in three cars attacked pedestrians at a market in Baghdad, Iraq, apparently at random. An anonymous official told Xinhua that the attack in Baghdad’s religiously diverse Zaafariniya neighbourhood left several seriously enough wounded that the death toll may rise.

Drive-by shootings have become rare in the capital since recent crackdowns on militants. However, attacks do still continue. Other recent attacks include a bombing on a Mogul army base that left ten dead and a series of rocket attacks on Baghdad residences and the Green Zone, leaving no known caualties as yet but striking several sensitive foreign targets.

Sources

India tests nuclear capable Agni-I surface-to-air missile

India has conducted a successful test of its Agni-I surface-to-air missile, a 700km (435 mile) range misile capable of carrying conventional and nuclear warheads up to a weight of 1,000kg. It was fired across the Bay of Bengal from a mobile launcher on a range on a nearby island at 10:15 am.

India and neighbour Pakistan have regularly tested missiles since 2002, and both have nuclear technology. The Agni-I has been tested previously. “The missile had a textbook performance in terms of range, accuracy and lethality,” said a statement by the military.

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November 16, 2007

Cyclone Sidr kills hundreds in Bangladesh

Cyclone Sidr kills hundreds in Bangladesh

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Location of Bangladesh.

Powerful Cyclone Sidr battered Bangladesh, killing hundreds of people, though reports vary. Citing the local United News of Bangladesh, the Associated Press is reporting a death toll of 1,100.

An evacuation of some 3 million was attempted before the storm made landfall. Anjana Pasricha reported from New Delhi for VOA News that, officials say advance preparation saved many lives, in a country accustomed to natural disasters.

Officials say the cyclone crashed into the country’s southern coast Thursday night with winds of up to 240 kilometers an hour, triggering huge waves.

Many villages were devastated as the winds uprooted trees and flattened homes. Torrential rain and waves washed away crops. Officials say many of the victims were killed by falling trees or debris from collapsing homes.

Shail Shrestha, program coordinator for the Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Dhaka, said preliminary reports indicate that the devastation is widespread.

“Phone lines are cut and communication system is very much disrupted, said Shrestha. “Agriculture products are badly damaged and livestock are also badly damaged.”

Tropical Cyclone Sidr as it continued its northward progress over the Bay of Bengal on November 15, 2007.
Image: University of Wisconsin.

The worst of the storm was over by early Friday. This made it possible for government and volunteer teams to dispatch relief teams carrying food, water, medicines, and tents for the people in the affected districts.

Although the storm has caused considerable destruction, officials say a mass evacuation ordered in advance helped save many lives.

Hundreds of thousands of coastal villagers were evacuated into government-built cyclone shelters and other buildings as the storm approached.

The shelters were built after the low-lying country suffered massive casualties in previous cyclones. A storm that hit the country in 1970 killed about half a million people. Another cyclone in 1991 killed more than 130,000.

Chittagong is one of the districts that lay in the path of the storm. A senior district official, Mokhlesur Rahman, says the region was spared large-scale casualties.

“We did evacuate a lot of people into different cyclone shelters, some in educational institutions,” said Rahman. “It was of much help, evacuation…. Now they are going back home.”

India’s east coast was also bracing for the cyclone, but so far it has escaped the storm’s fury. Authorities reported that several areas were hit by heavy rain, but there was little damage.




This article is based on Powerful Cyclone Wreaks Havoc in Bangladesh by VOA News which has a copyright policy compatible with our CC-BY 2.5. Specifically “Copyright status of work by the U.S. government

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  • “Cyclone Sidr smashes Bangladesh’s coastline, millions evacuated” — Wikinews, November 15, 2007

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July 9, 2006

India\’s Agni-III test termed a \”partial success\”.

Filed under: Asia,AutoArchived,Bay of Bengal,India,Nuclear weapons,Orissa — admin @ 5:00 am

India’s Agni-III test termed a “partial success”.

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Sunday, July 9, 2006

The Agni III missile launch was not completely successful. The missile developed a snag and fell into the Bay of Bengal sea without hitting the target. Scientists said that they would analyse the scientific data and refire the missile at a later stage. The Indian Defence Minister, Pranab Mukherjee told the Times of India newspaper, “The take-off was successful but there were some problems later,”

India’s most sophisticated Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) to date, the Agni III was test-fired off the Orissa coast earlier today. The missile took off from a fixed platform at the Integrated Test Range at Wheeler Island at 11:05 IST (05:35 GMT) in the presence of Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee and his scientific advisor M. Natarajan.

The Agni-II missile being displayed on a mobile launcher during the 2004 Republic Day parade.

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  • “India successfully test-fires Agni-III missile” — Wikinews, July 9, 2006

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India successfully test-fires Agni-III missile

India successfully test-fires Agni-III missile

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Correction — July 11, 2006
 
See India’s Agni-III test termed a “partial success”.
 

Sunday, July 9, 2006

India’s most sophisticated Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) to date, the Agni III was test-fired off the Orissa coast earlier today. The missile took off from a fixed platform at the Integrated Test Range at Wheeler Island at 11:05 IST (05:35 GMT) in the presence of Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee and his scientific advisor M. Natarajan.

The Agni-II missile being displayed on a mobile launcher during the 2004 Republic Day parade.

The missile took off vertically into space before re-entering the atmosphere and splashing down near Nicobar Island in the Bay of Bengal. Three sophisticated radars, six electro-optical tracking systems and three telemetric data stations on the mainland at Dhamra, Chandipur and the Andamans, together with a ship anchored near the splash-down point monitored the missile’s trajectory. According to eyewitnesses, the missile blasted off into the sky leaving behind a trail of thick yellow smoke and disappeared out of sight into the clouds within seconds.

The Agni-III, which has a range of 3,500 km and can carry up to 1000 kg of payload, has been described as the most powerful missile developed by India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation. The missile, which is 16 metres long and has a diametre of 1.8 metres, has solid fuel boosters and is capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads. The Agni-I and Agni-II, which were the earlier versions of the Agni series developed under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP), have already been inducted into the Indian Army. Boosters for the earlier two missiles had been provided by the Indian Space Research Organisation, however, the Agni-III uses an entirely new booster vehicle.

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May 19, 2005

Dec. 2004 Sumatra quake was longest ever recorded

Dec. 2004 Sumatra quake was longest ever recorded

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Thursday, May 19, 2005

According to new information about the earthquake of December 26, 2004, it was the longest-lasting earthquake ever recorded.

“Normally, a small earthquake might last less than a second; a moderate sized earthquake might last a few seconds. This earthquake lasted between 500 and 600 seconds (about 10 minutes),” said Charles Ammon, associate professor of geosciences at Penn State University. “Globally, this earthquake was large enough to basically vibrate the whole planet as much as half an inch, or a centimeter. Everywhere we had instruments, we could see motions,” Ammon continued.

This quake released an amount of energy equal to a 100 gigaton bomb, according to Roger Bilham, professor of geological sciences at the University of Colorado. And that power lasted longer than any quake ever recorded. “No point on Earth remained undisturbed,” said Bilham.

The quake was centered in the Indian Ocean, and it created the biggest gash in the Earth’s seabed ever observed. It measured nearly 800 miles, about the distance from northern California to southern Canada. Scientists have upgraded the magnitude of the quake from 9.0 to around 9.1-9.3, which is a dramatically more powerful quake.

“Two hours after the earthquake has occurred, the wave is spreading out from the Bay of Bengal,” Thorne Lay, professor of earth sciences and director of the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics at the University of California, Santa Cruz said. “Two satellites went over, with the capability of measuring the elevation of the ocean surface. It was just good luck that the passage of the satellites caught the tsunami in motion. There will be more earthquakes of this type, and with more humans exposed to the hazard there will be more devastating losses of life. What we hope to do is develop technologies that can minimize that loss.”.

Findings reported in the various papers:

  • In Sri Lanka, more than 1,600 kilometres from the epicenter, the ground moved nearly 10 centimetres.
  • The rupture spread from south to north. Seismometers in Russia recorded the quake at a higher frequency because it was moving toward them, while those in Australia measured a lower frequency as it moved away.
  • When the surface waves from the Sumatra quake reached Alaska they triggered a swarm of 14 earthquakes in the Mount Wrangell area.

Sources

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