Threat of catastrophic cyclone; 'Remal' is coming

Indian Meteorological Department (IMD)

Indian Meteorological Department (IMD)

As the month of May progresses, the fear of another devastating cyclone emerges on the horizon. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), commonly referred to as 'Mausam Bhavan,' has issued warnings about a potential cyclone, named 'Remal,' expected to form in the Bay of Bengal. This cyclone is anticipated to hit the regions of West Bengal in India and Bangladesh by the end of May, raising concerns among the residents and authorities alike.

Formation and Conditions

According to meteorologists, conditions in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea are conducive to the formation of a cyclone. Low-pressure areas are expected to develop in the Arabian Sea by May 22 and in the Bay of Bengal by May 23. For a cyclone to form, the sea surface temperature should be at least 26.5 degrees Celsius up to a depth of 50 meters. Currently, the sea surface temperature in the Bay of Bengal is around 30-31 degrees Celsius, providing the necessary warm water that acts as a driving force for cyclones.

Development Timeline

The IMD has predicted that a low-pressure system may form in the Southeast Bay of Bengal and the adjacent Andaman Sea on May 23. This system is likely to evolve into a deep depression by May 24, potentially strengthening into a cyclonic storm. If this happens, it is expected to move north and northeast, with its path becoming clearer around May 20.

Potential Impact

While it is still uncertain whether Cyclone Remal will form, experts suggest that if it does, it will likely head towards Myanmar and Bangladesh, sparing West Bengal from significant impact. Nevertheless, the possibility of the cyclone causing heavy rains and strong winds in coastal areas cannot be ruled out. The Dhaka Meteorological Department has indicated that rainfall may commence in coastal areas from the night of May 24, continuing until May 26.

Historical Context

The month of May is notorious for cyclones in the Bay of Bengal. Historical records show that several devastating cyclones have hit this region in May, including Cyclone Aila in 2009, Cyclone Fani in 2019, Cyclone Amphan in 2020, and Cyclone Yaas in 2021. These past events highlight the recurring nature of cyclones during this period and the potential threat they pose to life and property.

Expert Opinions

Mustafa Kamal Palash, a PhD researcher in meteorology and climate at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, emphasized that the Bay of Bengal typically sees cyclone formation before and after the monsoon season, which begins in late May to early June. The accumulation of energy in the Bay of Bengal due to the lack of cyclones earlier in the season could result in a very strong cyclone if Remal develops.

As the region braces for the possibility of Cyclone Remal, it is crucial for residents and authorities in West Bengal and Bangladesh to stay alert and prepared. Continuous monitoring and timely updates from meteorological departments will be essential in mitigating the impact of this potential cyclone. While it remains to be seen whether Cyclone Remal will fully form and how severe it will be, the historical context and current conditions warrant caution and preparedness.


India Meteorological Department (IMD)
Statements from Meteorologists and Researchers
Historical Data on Cyclones in the Bay of Bengal
Weather Forecast Models from the US and European Union


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