Full moon, lunar eclipse may worsen Cyclone Yaas impact, says IMD
Cyclone Yaas began making landfall Wednesday morning, crossing the Indian East Coast near Dhamra port in Odisha. This "very severe cyclonic storm" comes on a full moon day that coincides with a lunar eclipse. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has warned that the Cyclone Yaas's post-landfall impact might be worsened due to spring tides resulting from the full moon and lunar eclipse.
"The damage would be the maximum in the coastal districts of East Midnapore and South 24 Parganas," the Hindustan Times quoted Sanjib Banerjee, deputy director, IMD Kolkata, as saying.
"The storm surge triggered by the cyclone at East Midnapore district would be 2-4 metres, while in South 24 Parganas it would be 1-2 metres. This is over and above the astronomical tide [spring tide]," said Banerjee.
Meanwhile, five sub-divisions and blocks of West Bengal and four of Odisha are expected to be inundated due to Cyclone Yaas. The reason behind such a high storm surge is partially due to full-moon activity, according to Met department officials.
WHAT ARE SPRING TIDES?
"When the new moon or full moon closely aligns with perigee -- the closest point to Earth in the moon's orbit -- then we have a supermoon and extra-large spring tides," Earthsky says.
According to the report, on a new moon or full moon day, the tide's range is at its maximum and is known as the spring tide -- the highest (and lowest) tide.
CYCLONE YAAS LANDFALL AND FULL-MOON ACTIVITY
Cyclone Yaas landfall began near Dhamra port in Odisha at 9.15 am on Wednesday, even as strong winds and heavy tides saw seawater ingress in many coastal towns and villages in Odisha and West Bengal ahead of the landfall.
The landfall process has begun and will take 3-4 hours to complete the process. The maximum impact will be in Balasore and Bhadrak district, news agency PTI quoted Odisha's Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) PK Jena saying.
The lunar eclipse, on the other hand, will begin at around 3.15 pm in India. The total phase of the eclipse will end at 4.58 pm, while the partial eclipse phase will end at 6.23 pm. This eclipse will be a combination of a full Moon, a bloodmoon, and a total lunar eclipse.
About 404 rescue teams including 52 from the NDRF, 60 from the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF), 205 Fire service teams and 86 groups of tree-cutters have been deployed in the vulnerable districts of Odisha, PTI reported.
West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh too have deployed large numbers of disaster relief personnel, police and fire brigade for rescue operations.
The Eastern Command of the Indian Army, on requisition, is also working in coordination with the West Bengal government and has deployed a total of 17 cyclone relief columns, comprising specialised army personnel with associated equipment and inflatable boats.
Meanwhile, at least two persons were electrocuted to death and around 80 houses partly damaged after a storm, which West Bengal Chief Minister Banerjee described as a "tornado", hit Hooghly and North 24 Parganas districts on Tuesday.
LUNAR ECLIPSE TODAY
The total lunar eclipse occurring on Wednesday will be visible in several countries as the Moon turns into a bloodmoon. The total phase of the May 26 Lunar Eclipse will end at 4.58 pm, while the partial phase will end at 6.23 pm.
According to the Ministry of Earth Sciences, the partial phase of the eclipse will begin at 3.15 pm in India. The total phase of the eclipse will end at 4.58 pm, while the partial phase ends at 6.23 pm.
The lunar eclipse occurs on a full moon day when the Earth comes in between the Sun and the Moon and when all the three objects are aligned.