A disaster of epic proportions is shaping up in the Bay of Bengal-but you wouldn’t know it from following most mainstream news outlets. Tropical Cyclone Sidr, which has been rated a Category 4 storm (verging on Category 5, by some estimates), is headed towards Kolkata, India, and the west coast of Bangladesh.
The storm, whose winds had strengthened to 150 mph (241 km/h) yesterday night, is expected to make landfall later today. Meteorologists believe it will lose some of its steam before reaching Bangladesh and Kolkata; however, as Chris Mooney points out, those predictions have so far proven unfounded and, with little time remaining-having already left 40 ft high waves in its wake-Sidr is still likely to bring a massive wave of death and destruction.
As a point of comparison, it helps to recall that a cyclone that hit the region in 1991 resulted in the deaths of 138,000 people. Cyclone Sidr will become the sixth storm of the north Indian Ocean cyclone season; it is only the second major one (Category 3 or above) to make landfall this decade since Tropical Cyclone Mala struck Myanmar on April 28, 2006, leaving 22 casualties in its wake.
Via ::The Intersection: Time To Panic Over Cyclone Sidr (blog), ::Bloomberg: Tropical Cyclone Sidr Strengthens on Way to India, Bangladesh (news website)
See also: ::Heavy Rain Kills in UK, Pakistan and Bangladesh, ::Wunder Blog: Extremely dangerous Cyclone Sidr bears down on Bangladesh and India (blog), ::Higher Number of Atlantic Storms Linked to Global Warming