A region of low pressure in the Arabian Sea developed into tropical depression 04A on Saturday. The storm developed on waters bordering eight nations, who take turns naming the systems. This time around it was Pakistan’s turn, and we decided to name it Nilofar. Some say it’s named after the flower Nilofar… but meteorological folklore has it that the storm is named after the met-officer who tracked it first’s ex-girlfriend… or ‘The one who got away’.
The impending storm is causing so much ruckus that during yesterday’s session, a member of our provincial assembly even questioned why they are named after women…claiming “it’s the women’s power that people are scared off”. The speaker of the assembly retorted by stating that it was named ‘Nilofar’ after a lady who used to be very powerful once upon a time.
Fiction aside, this cyclone is one to watch out for as it is predicted to make landfall in the Rann of Kutch region; the area of the Thar Desert that borders Pakistan and India. The storm has taken the typical S-Band shape of a cyclone marked by a clearly visible eye which indicates the storms intensity. Last night the storm peaked as a monstrous Category-4 cyclone with sustained winds of 215kph (135mph), but has since decreased in intensity due to the surrounding dry air, and is currently sitting at CAT-3. The system is predicted to further de-intensify as it makes a bee-line for the desert region, by landfall it will be classified as a Tropical Storm or Depression with winds of about 65kph.
So what does this mean for us? Under its influence, heavy rainfall and gusting winds are expected over lower Sindh and adjoining areas. This may (most likely will) lead to flash flooding in areas of poor infrastructure.
In developed societies, authorities prepare for such situations by informing citizens and making them aware of measures to be taken along with the associated dangers. Whereas in our city, when rain-starved people hear about a cyclone approaching they take it as a merry-making opportunity, taking their whole families out for the ritualistic Seaview trip.
Wise advice for all would be to stock up on food and gas, not to mention generator fuel as we don’t know what Nilofar has in store for us. But one thing we can be certain of is that the city of lights will be plunged into darkness at the first hint of rain… let alone a torrential downpour!