Cyclone developing in Arabian Sea; Danger for Goa?

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 25 October 2014 17:56 IST

Image of cyclone developed in Arabian Sea on IMD website

Following Hudhud, yet another cyclone is developing, this time in the Arabian Sea that has already impacted with a sudden rainfall. Though the severe cyclone is expected to ultimately hit Salalah in Oman, Goa is once again endangered with a repeat of horrifying flood witnessed in Canacona five years ago.

Dr Satish Shetye, the Goa University Vice Chancellor, who had then headed a committee that studied the historic Canacona mudslide, confirmed to goanews.com that a similar kind of situation is arising in Goa once again. (Click on the link below to read the full report)

It was just a matter of three days in 2009.  The continuous pouring from 29 September had resulted into a mudslide in Canacona on 2 October and the water level had risen up to 10 meters.

It had washed away several houses and damaged all the crops while also claiming two lives, with a maximum damaged caused in Poinguinim and Loliem villages.

According to V K Mini, director of Goa’s Meteorological Centre, the depression would move towards Oman and may not affect Indian coast.

“But nothing can be predicted as satellite images are showing similar trend continuously and Goa needs to be prepared for any eventuality,” cautions Dr Shetye.

The website of Indian Meteorological Department in the meanwhile has been flashing a warning message since today morning, as follows:

“A depression has formed over westcentral and adjoining southwest Arabian Sea and lay centred at 5.30 hours IST of today, 25th October near latitude 12.50 North and longitude 61.50 East about 1400 kms west-southwest of Mumbai and 940 kms east-southeast of Salalah (Oman).”

While local IMD office is ruling out the cyclone hitting the Goan coast, Dr Shetye is more worried about the cyclonic situation along the Arabian Sea causing the continuous rainfall that may result into intense precipitation, followed by the horrific mudslide.

According to Mini, only Margao has reported rainfall of 12 cms in last 24 hours while rest of Goa has reported less than 7 cms of rain.

“We need to worry only if the pouring continues in a similar manner beyond 29 October”, she says.

But Dr Shetye, then director of National Institute of Oceanography, suggests that the state machinery gears up as a matter of precaution since nothing can be predicted in such situations.

 

The Shetye committee has identified total 14 vulnerable areas in such situations, out of which 10 were more vulnerable.

Four such places have been identified in one Sattari taluka alone - Valpoi, Sateri, Chorla and Virdi, extending it up to Sankhli, which falls in Bicholim taluka.

In Canacona, however, only Partagal has been identified as the most vulnerable.

But it is Sanguem town and surrounding area in Sanguem taluka, Mollem in Dharbandora taluka and Tisk and Ponda in Ponda taluka.

The committee has also identified less vulnerable areas – Saligao and Siolim in Bardez and Verna and Loutolim in Salcete.

Dr Shetye suggests that all the mechanisms prepared to face such eventualities need to be checked, like the water pumps installed in Sankhli town to pump out the flood water in the market area.

His committee had suggested Automated Weather Stations in all the 14 vulnerable places. However, Goa has only eight such stations – five AWS in Valpoi, Canacona, Old Goa, Mapusa and Pernem while three Automatic Rainguage Stations in Panaji, Old Goa and Vasco.

The Doplar radar, having a wide range of 400 kilometers to detect any kind of change in the wind, is yet to be installed.

“It would be operational within six months”, states Mini.

The committee had also suggested afforestation of the hilly range in all the vulnerable areas as well as desiliting of the rivers, including Talpona and Galgibag in Canacona taluka, to reduce the damage in case of a mudslide.

Rather than taking up this work on priority in the last five years, the state government diverted the funds collected for Canacona to Uttarakhand last year. 

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