I just checked the intensity of this potentially devastating storm in the Bay of Bengal, and my jaw dropped.
For days the Joint Typhoon Warning Center has been saying that Sidr is going to weaken. They keep having to take it back: Now the storm is at 130 knots, what would be a Supertyphoon in the West Pacific, and close to Category 5 strength.
Because Sidr keeps getting closer to land, meanwhile, it has less and less time to weaken before doing so. And pretty soon even an expected weakening won't be that much help. Right now Sidr's powerful winds are whipping up an ocean surge that is going to barrel into the extremely low-lying floodplains of Bangladesh. And that's where the true danger lies.
Joint Typhoon Warning Center
Bangladesh may well be the most dangerous place in the world to get a strong hurricane. Jeff Masters has the numbers: Virtually all of the deadliest storms in history have occurred here in the North Indian ocean basin.
As Masters is more expert than your Storm Pundit, let's quote him on the storm surge possibility:
A Category 1 or 2 cyclone hitting the low-lying, densely populated coasts of Bangladesh could still be devastating. The triangular shape of the Bay of Bengal acts to funnel storm surge waters into Bangladesh, and the very shallow bottom of the bay allows the surge to pile up to very high heights. A list of the 13 deadliest cyclones in world history shows that nine of these have occurred in the Bay of Bengal. The big killer in all of these cyclones was the storm surge. The only known cyclone of Category 5 strength to hit Bangladesh, the April 1991 cyclone, brought a 30 foot storm surge to the coast near Chittagong. Surge height up to 41 feet are possible along some regions of the coast.
I just checked CNN.com again. Still nothing up on the website about Sidr. Amazing, no?
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