The Intersection

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It seems 300 fishing boats and 1000 people are already missing in the storm. However, there’s good news, too, according to Jeff Masters: The landfall point is a mangrove forest, not very populous. Still, the whole area has to expect a Katrina like storm surge upwards of 20 feet in some places. To quote Masters:

The coast in western Bangladesh has the Sundarbans Forest, the world’s largest forest of mangrove trees. This region is the least populated coastal area in the country, and has been part of a major reforestation effort in recent years. The portion of coast likely to receive the highest storm surge levels of 20-25 feet is virtually unpopulated. However, storm surge levels of 10-20 feet are still likely to affect areas with a population of at least a million, to the east of the Sundarbans forest, and inland from the forest. The last major cyclone to hit western Bangladesh occurred in November 1988. This Category 3 cyclone with 125 mph winds had a 5-10 foot storm surge, and killed 2,000 people.

We can only wait and see…but it sounds like at least in terms of its specific landfall location, this was not a worst case storm–which is at least some relief.

Comments

  1. #1 Erin in Flagstaff
    November 15, 2007

    I’m so glad to hear that it won’t be a worst case scenario…though it’s staggering to think there’s already been a possible death toll of 1000. We don’t get a lot of news here in the States about the tropical cyclones, but it has been amazing to see the number and strength of them that have occurred in the last few years.

    By the way, I’ll be in Second Life tonight to hear your talk.

  2. #2 Jimbo
    November 15, 2007

    Not necessarily great news for wildlife. According to Web sites, the Sundarbans are the largest remaining habitat tract for the Royal Bengal Tiger (400 or so) and a olive ridley sea turtle nesting site. And a rare species of deer.

  3. #3 greg laden
    November 15, 2007

    The storm seems to be smacking directly into one of the more sensitive Tiger habitats in the region.

    The entire coast is mangrove, really, so not hitting a mangrove forest on the way in would be difficult. There may be between 100 and 200 km of mangrove between the coast and heavily populated areas in land. But, a lot of people live in the mangrove areas. The exact landfall might be in one of the least populated areas but it’s a big storm with a very vulnerable target.

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