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Dozens dead after powerful Cyclone Fani struck northeastern India, Bangladesh

By Adriana Navarro, AccuWeather staff writer
May 06, 2019, 12:15:13 AM EDT


At least three dozen are dead in northeastern India and Bangladesh after Powerful Cyclone Fani slammed onshore as the strongest cyclone to hit India within the last 20 years.

Fani made landfall early Friday morning between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. local time along the coast of the Indian state of Odisha, close to Puri. Fani's strength was the equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane in the Atlantic or eastern Pacific oceans when it barreled onshore.

The cyclone has claimed at least 38 lives in Odisha alone by Sunday afternoon, according to Times of India, 25 of which the state chief secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi said were registered in Puri.

(AP Photo)

A destroyed fuel filing station by cyclone Fani after its landfall is seen on the outskirts of Puri, in the Indian state of Odisha, Friday, May 3, 2019.

(AP Photo)

Street shops are seen collapsed due to gusty winds preceding the landfall of cyclone Fani on the outskirts of Puri, in the Indian state of Odisha, Friday, May 3, 2019.

(Twitter photo/@vbroutray)

A native of Puri, India, rides through his hometown during the evening hours after Fani inflicted damage upon the area.

(Twitter photo/@Odisha_Police)

Cuttack, India, has taken a pounding from Fani, which left several trees uprooted in the area. Local police officials work to remove downed trees from blocked roads on May 3, 2019.

(Twitter photo/@vbroutray)

A native of Puri, India, rides through his hometown during the evening hours after Fani inflicted damage upon the area.

(STR/AP)

Damaged signage lies on a street in Puri district after Cyclone Fani hit the coastal eastern state of Odisha, India, Friday, May 3, 2019.

(Twitter photo/@vbroutray)

A native of Puri, India, rides through his hometown during the evening hours after Fani inflicted damage upon the area.

(STR/AP)

Damaged structures and uprooted tress lie along a road in Puri district after Cyclone Fani hit the coastal eastern state of Odisha, India, Friday, May 3, 2019.

(Twitter photo/@DCP_Cuttack)

A downed tree blocks off a road in Cuttack, India, on May 3, 2019.

(Twitter photo/@pattaprateek)

A resident of Bhubaneswar, India, took this image from his apartment's balcony during impacts from Fani on May 3, 2019. "Nothing is visible beyond a few meters now," Prateek Pattanaik tweeted.

(AP Photo)

An abandoned house and trees bend with gusty winds ahead of the landfall of cyclone Fani on the outskirts of Puri, in the Indian state of Odisha, Friday, May 3, 2019.

(AP Photo)

Street shops are seen collapsed due to gusty winds ahead of the landfall of cyclone Fani on the outskirts of Puri, in the Indian state of Odisha, Friday, May 3, 2019.

(AP Photo)

Villagers move to safer places amidst gusty winds ahead of the landfall of cyclone Fani on the outskirts of Puri, in the Indian state of Odisha, Friday, May 3, 2019.

(Twitter photo/@pattaprateek)

A resident of Bhubaneswar, India, took this image from his apartment's balcony during impacts from Fani on May 3, 2019.

(NOAA)

The NOAA 20 satellite captured this image of an enormous and powerful Cyclone Fani churning over the Bay of Bengal on April 30, 2019, as it barreled toward India's east coast.

(Image/NOAA/RAMMB)

Fani bearing down on eastern India early Friday, May 3, 2019.

(AP Photo/Bikas Das)

Stewardess and stranded passengers wait outside the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose international airport after all flights were suspended following cyclone Fani landfall in eastern coast, in Kolkata, India, Friday, May 3, 2019.


At least a dozen people have been confirmed dead in Bangladesh according to the Associated Press, and at least six of them had been killed by lightning.

Fani has since dissipated after tracking over India and Bangladesh.

"There can still be locally heavier downpours across the mountain regions from Assam to Arunachal Pradesh on Monday, though the majority of northeast India will be dry," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Adam Douty said. "Any heavier downpour could worsen ongoing flooding or threaten new flooding."

For the rest of the week, showers and thunderstorms can develop over parts of the area each afternoon, according to Douty. Rainfall, however, should not be heavy enough to significantly worsen flooding or slow recovery efforts.

"Heat will build once again through the beginning of the week, straining those working on recovery efforts," Douty said. "In the hardest-hit areas from Odisha to West Bengal, no rain or relief from the heat is expected."


Bhubaneswar continued its third day on Sunday without electricity and efforts continue to restore water supply according to The Times of India.

"I have lost my home to the cyclone. There's nothing to eat and not a drop of water to drink. I am forced to buy bottled water. How do I feed my five kids?" Pashpalata Patra asked the Hindustan Times.

Despite the recovery efforts and aid, "How do I feed my kids?" was a common question echoed in the news source. Not only had Fani destroyed homes, but it had also destroyed grocery stores and food supply.

All families covered under the Food and Security Act in Puri and those in parts of Khurda that had been "extremely severely affected" by Fani will receive 50 kg of rice, Rs 2,000 (almost $30) in cash and polythene sheets, chief minister Naveen Patnaik told The Times of India.

Patnaik has also announced an assistance for damaged homes ranging from Rs 95,100 (about $1,375) for "fully damaged" houses to Rs 3,200 (about $46) for houses that had suffered minor damage.

When the cyclone hit Odisha, most of the area's thatched-roof houses were destroyed according to the AP.

Tanmay Das, a 40-year-old resident of the area described the sound of wind to the AP in Bhubaneswar, a city in Odisha, "as if it will blow you away.”

Videos on social media show the fury of Fani, the trees bowing under the duress of the wind as the rain darkened the sky.

The cyclone uprooted 10,000 coconut trees and destroyed agriculture and horticulture crops in Andhra Pradesh in its wake, the Times of India reported officials saying. The news source reported the loss as Rs 58.61 crore, nearly $8.5 million USD.


A spokesperson with India’s government reported “extensive damage” to houses, old buildings and temporary shops in Puri, a city located in the state of Odisha, according to Asian News International (ANI).

Over one million people had evacuated from the path of Fani, nearly 100,000 of the evacuees from Puri alone in the country's largest evacuation operation according to the AP.

Indian officials are crediting the mass evacuation to having prevented a devastating death toll, but also caution the reports could rise as communications and power are restored.

AccuWeather meteorologists alerted residents of northeastern India and Bangladesh of dangers from the cyclone a week before it made landfall, even prior to when Fani had formed.

The cyclone caused extensive damage to telecommunications and power infrastructure in parts of Odisha, including Puri and Bhubaneswar.

"In Puri, power restoration will take at least a week," Special Relief Commissioner Bishnupada Sethi told the Hindustan Times.


A team of archaeologists camped out inside the city's 858-year-old Jagannath temple during Fani's onslaught since Friday morning to address any damage from the cyclone according to News 18. However, the Archaeological Survey of India Superintending Archeologist Arun Malik said that the last time he had been able to contact the team was around 8:30 a.m. local time Friday.

A local news source reported that the temple had not suffered any major damage. The lion statue on West Gate had fallen and one of the deities on Singhadwar (Lion's Gate) had sustained damage, but the temple remains standing tall. The news source also mentions that the "Kalpabata" tree, which holds religious significance, near the temple had been affected and its supporting structure damaged.

Fani was the strongest cyclone this early in the year in the North Indian Ocean since Cyclone Nargis in 2008, according to Phil Klotzbach of Colorado State University.

Impacts from the storm were felt as far as Mount Everest from worsening weather at higher elevations in the Himalayas to Nepal's government issuing a warning for heavy snowfall.

Download the free AccuWeather app to get the latest forecast on cleanup weather for select locations in the wake of Cyclone Fani.

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