Tropical Cyclone Roanu finally runs out of steam

The storm that has plagued South Asia for many days has dissipated over land.

    Sri Lanka is still recovering from the impact of Tropical Cyclone Roanu [MA Pushpa Kumara/EPA]
    Sri Lanka is still recovering from the impact of Tropical Cyclone Roanu [MA Pushpa Kumara/EPA]

    Millions of people across South Asia will be breathing a sigh of relief; Tropical Cyclone Roanu is no more. It finally broke up over northern Bangladesh, Myanmar, and the far southwest of China, losing its energy source: the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.

    Roanu was the first cyclone of the Indian Ocean season that has two peaks: May-June and October-November; these peaks are in advance of the Southwesterly Monsoon and before the Northeasterly Monsoon, respectively.

    Roanu began life as an area of low pressure to the southwest of Sri Lanka on May 14. By last Tuesday, it had become a tropical cyclone and dropped up to 300mm across the island. The flooding and resulting landslides are known to have claimed the lives of 71 people with another 127 reported missing.

    As Roanu then began to move northwards along the east coast of India, several locations reported rainfall of between 200mm-300mm.

    READ MORE: Cyclone Roanu wreaks havoc as it approaches Bangladesh

    Although Roanu was never a particularly powerful storm in terms of wind speeds - the maximum was 120km an hour, there were concerns about its impact on the northern end of the Bay of Bengal.

    The high population density around the Ganges Delta, coupled with the fact that much of the region is less than five metres above sea level, makes it vulnerable to major cyclones.

    Death tolls of between 300,000-500,000 have been recorded in the past during the worst storms. As recently as 1970, the Bhola cyclone claimed the lives of 300,000 people.

    The shape of the Bay of Bengal funnels water, leading to storm surges. In fact, about 40 percent of the world's storm surges occur in the bay. Fortunately, this surge was no more than one metre high, but torrential rain and strong winds took their toll.

    More than 20 people are known to have died. Although a tragedy for victims, the country seems to be improving its warning services and 500,000 people were evacuated before the storm hit.

    Although Roanu is no longer a cyclone, it is still having an impact. There is still a cyclonic, or counterclockwise, circulation across the region. Heavy rain continues across northern Bangladesh and southwestern China. There is a risk of landslides in these areas.

    The flow is also "sucking" in air from across northern India and Pakistan, where heatwave conditions have seen record-breaking temperatures well in excess of 50C. Consequently, the eastern states of India and Bangladesh can expect rising temperatures in the days to come.

     Deaths as Cyclone Roanu pounds Bangladesh

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.