The Intersection


Cyclone 03B (or Yemyin) making landfall in Pakistan on Tuesday. Note the well defined structure, including a cloud filled central eye region.

When do international politics interfere with protecting vulnerable people from hurricanes? Possibly when India has to provide storm warnings for Pakistan.

Jeff Masters and Margie Kieper are blogging about an unfolding scandcal concerning cyclone 03B (or Yemyin), which regenerated earlier this week in the Arabian Sea, intensified, and went on to strike Pakistan. The storm’s floods left 250,000 homeless, and guess what: The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), which has been given forecasting responsibility for this area by the World Meteorological Organization, didn’t even bother to give it a name or forecast it properly. As Masters puts it:

Cyclone 03B was at least a strong tropical storm when it hit Pakistan, and was probably a Category 1 hurricane….Yet IMD never even gave the storm a name, and merely classified it as a a “deep depression,” with winds less than tropical storm force (39 mph). At 00 GMT June 26, two hours before landfall, the position of Cyclone 03B given by IMD was probably in error by at least 60 miles. One hour later, at 01 GMT, with landfall just one hour away, the IMD shipping advisory said that landfall was still 12 hours away. The IMD website, with the warnings, was offline and not available for approximately twelve hours beginning with the landfall period. It’s important not to judge IMD before all the facts are known, but I can’t fathom any excuse that can account for what appears, at best, to be criminal incompetence.

And we all know what kind of history India and Pakistan have.

Meanwhile, there’s now another storm in the Indian Ocean, technically 04B, and the question is whether the Indian Meteorological Department will try to call it Yemyin–a name the Pakistanis already unofficially chose for 03B–instead of going on to the next storm on the list…..


  1. #1 AnonymousCoward1
    June 28, 2007

    And what kind of history do India and Pakistan have?

    I wouldn’t expect the people in the IMD (who earn roughly $250 to $500 per month before taxes) to spend sleepless nights trying to save either country from natural disasters. Nor do I expect the IMD to waste precious electricity keeping their computers alive 24 hours a day when the rest of the country faces severe power shortfalls. Just like in other walks of life (e.g. restaurants in the US), if you want a service you will have to directly pay the persons involved. Does India name the cyclones that hit its shores? What was the name of the last big cyclone that killed thousands in easter n India?

  2. #2 llewelly
    June 29, 2007

    AC1, India’s agreements with the WMO require it to name all tropical cyclones in its region estimated at 34 kts or greater intensity, whether they strike its shores or not.

  3. #3 Allison Philip Bayson
    June 30, 2007

    It is atrocious that the so called land of Gandhi would not warn fellow human being about impending disaster. The UN shoudl censor India and Of course the Pakistanis will set up their own warning stations.

    The people of Baluchistan should note the corcodile tears from India on this and other matters.

    Another example of the ruthless nature of the Indian government.

  4. #4 Allison Philip Bayson
    June 30, 2007

    If India does not have the capability, competence, work ethic, and a trained work force, and if she does not have the resources to pay the employees properly to do the appropriate due deligence in weather forcasting and met. monitoring, then the IMD should not shoulder the responsibility given to it by the WMO. If due to criminal negligence, deliberate design, pre-meditated conspiracy, benign neglect, general apathy, climate terrorism or worse, the Indian IMD did not proffer the appropriate advice and warning to the neighboring countries, then the IMD should be taken to task and the blood of hundreds who died in the cyclone is on the hands of the IMD. The IMD should pay appropriate compensaiton to the victims and the IMD should be balcklisted.

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