Cyclone Mocha Poised to Devastate Myanmar Sunday

Credit: Force Thirteen/JMA/Himawari-9.

"Cyclone Mocha has become the most powerful storm since Cyclone Sidr," Azizur Rahman, the head of Bangladesh's Meteorological Department, told.

Current Information 

As of 21z, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center has Extremely Severe Cyclone “Mocha” located at 17.8°N, 91.1°E. This is around 270 km South of Chittagong, Bangladesh. Extremely Severe Cyclone Mocha has 3 minutes of sustained winds equivalent to 150 mph (130 Kts/240 Kph) gusting up to 185 mph (160 Kts/300 Kph) and a minimal center pressure of 923 millibars; near Super Cyclone Status as well. The system is currently moving North-Northeastward with a speed of 9 mph (8 Kts/115 Kph.) As of the 18z outlook, our Force Thirteen Cyclone Analyst team has analyzed the system as 160 mph (140 Kts/260 Kph) and a minimal central pressure of 914 mb based on the satellite appearance of it, bringing it to Category 5 equivalent cyclone. 

 In Depth Look – 

Currently, Extremely Severe Cyclone Mocha is present in the North East Bay of Bengal, close to the Myanmar coast. 

Cyclone Mocha is currently located in a very favorable region for intensification with a jet streak and alignment with the shear direction. In addition, very warm sea surface temperatures and robust dual outflow aloft has allowed for rapid intensification. A polar satellite pass measured an eye temperature of over 20°C. This besides a full Cold Medium Grey (CMG) ring using the Dvorak infrared color scale supports a T number of T7.5. This number is 0.5 away from T8.0 which is reserved for only the most powerful tropical cyclones. As explained by one of our forecasters.

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) had forecast a peak of 140 mph (115 Kts/215 Kph) which will make it the strongest cyclone in the Bay of Bengal since Amphan. Just before landfall, increasing shear might bring minor weakening, possibly bringing it back to an equally destructive Category 4 Cyclone.

18z Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecast for Cyclone Mocha, with a landfall noted roughly around 12z on May 14th.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center currently forecasts a landfall intensity of 145 mph (125 kts/230 kph) which would make it the strongest landfall in the region since the 1968 Burma Super Cyclone. All signs point to a dangerous and potentially devastating impact in Myanmar and related areas.

Risk Related to Cyclone – 

In advance of the storm’s landfall, weather warnings have been issued by IMD for:

Wind – Gale force winds are forecast for Chittagong (state), Bangladesh, and entire Myanmar Coast with winds in excess of hurricane force being possible at the Arakan Coast near Sittwe, and around Cox’s Bazar.

Sea Conditions – During the passage of the Cyclone, 5-6 meter storm surge is forecast for Barisal, Chittagong (state), Bangladesh and the Arakan coast of Myanmar. Near the region of forecast landfall, near Sittwe and Cox’s Bazar, storm surge can reach up to a height of 15 meters. In the estuary and the tributaries, Gulf of Martaban and Tenasserim coast, storm surge can reach up to a height of 4 meters.

Rainfall – Widespread light to moderate rain with isolated Heavy rainfall is expected in the Southern States of NE India, the Entire Eastern Bangladesh consisting of the Capital City Dhaka, Sylhet, Barisal & Chittagong states of Bangladesh, Entire Myanmar except for Tenasserim coast & Yunnan province of China. In Chauk, 93mm was recorded throughout the course of May 13th due to Mocha.

Others – Due to the extreme wind & rainfall rate, landslide potential is high, particularly in elevated areas. Those in elevated areas should be on high alert!

Fishermen & Port Warning –

Due to the prevailing hazardous conditions, Port Warning 4 was issued from Mongla port in Bangladesh, While Warning No 8 was issued for ports in Barisal & Chittagong area & No 10 for Coxbaxar & Teknaf. Fishermen are requested not to venture around. 

Preparedness – 

Islamic Relief Bangladesh has opened its Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) at the Country’s Office for Cyclone MOCHA response. The Food Security Cluster Coordinator in Bangladesh has joined with the EOC team to monitor the situation and necessary coordination. Mass evacuations have been started in Sittwe as the storm progresses.

The ULA/AA has evacuated more than 30,000 villagers in Rakhine ahead of Cyclone Mocha, according to local news. The National Disaster Management Committee issued a red alert to some northern Rakhine.

Bangladesh officials have begun evacuating Rohingya refugees from risky areas to community centers in preparation for Cyclone Mocha, the most powerful cyclone in two decades.

Mocha stands as a potentially historic storm in the Myanmar/Bangladesh region. All warnings and preparations should be taken in the highest regard. Live coverage on Mocha continues at 01z (7:30 Myanmar Standard Time.) Stay tuned using this link:

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