Friday 13 June 2014

Flooding after Mumbai hit by freak waves.

Parts of the Indian city of Mumbai are suffering from flooding after being hit by a series of freak waves on Thursday 12 June 2014. The waves occurred around high tide, and rose over four meters above expected levels, inundating low lying coastal parts of the city and causing damage to homes and vehicles, as well as dumping considerable amounts of rubbish and marine sediments on the streets of the city.

Flooding in Mumbai on Thursday 12 June 2014. IBN Live.

The India Meteorological Department has attributed the waves to strong onshore winds associated with Tropical Storm Nanauk which coincided with a high spring tide, and warn that there is a danger of similar events for the next week. The Arabian Sea coast of India is currently waiting for the start of the year's monsoon season, a time when it is particularly vulnerable to wind-driven flooding.

Areas of Mumbai affected by coastal flooding on 12 June 2014. Google Maps.

Tropical storms are caused by the warming effect of the Sun over tropical seas. As the air warms it expands, causing a drop in air pressure, and rises, causing air from outside the area to rush in to replace it. If this happens over a sufficiently wide area then the inrushing winds will be affected by centrifugal forces caused by the Earth's rotation (the Coriolis effect). This means that winds will be deflected clockwise in the northern hemisphere and anti-clockwise in the southern hemisphere, eventually creating a large, rotating Tropical Storm.

Tropical Storm Nanauk has been moving northwards in the central Arabian Sea for several days, and has proved hard to track. After initial fears that it would hit Oman and the Gulf States, it is now thought likely that it will peter out without making landfall.

The path of Tropical Storm Nanauk to date (thick line) and its predicted future movement (thin line, circles represent the margin of error on the predictions). Colours represent the strength of the storm. Tropical Storm Risk.

Satellite track of the movements of Tropical Storm Nanauk on the morning of Friday 14 June 2014. Cyclocane.

See also...

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Twenty three people are now known to have died after Cyclone Phailin made landfall in Orissa State, India, slightly after 9.00 pm local time on Saturday 12 October 2013, brining with it winds of...

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