5 Most Disastrous and Terrific Cyclones in Tamil Nadu

Cyclone in Tamil Nadu


Tauktae cyclone formed in the Arabian Sea and became the strongest and most disastrous hurricane of the 2021 Indian Ocean tropical cyclone. This typhoon is considered the strongest tropical typhoon to make landfall on the west coast of India since the 1998 Gujarat cyclone. Tauktae brought tremendous rainfall and flash floods to regions along the coast of Kerala and on Lakshadweep. Tauktae recorded a high wind gust of 195km/h sustained for 3 minutes and 220km/h for 1 minute.


Reports from The Guardian say that this cyclone resulted in nearly 122 deaths and 81 missing in India. As of now, the actual numbers missing are not known. In Gujarat, both the death toll from the hurricane and COVID cases rises. The reporters from News channels say that this may lead to a very critical situation in Gujarat. On May 19, the typhoon weakened to a low-pressure area.

Special Note: Myanmar suggested the word ‘Tauktae’ which refers to a highly vocal lizard, ‘Gecko‘.

Thane - Cyclone in Tamil Nadu


Forty-eight people died due to the Thane cyclone’s impact is one of the deadliest cyclones in Tamil Nadu. On November 23, 2011, Joint Typhoon Warning Centre (JTWC) reported a tropical disturbance east of Medan in Indonesia. After two days, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) informed a tropical disturbance to be declared Depression BOB5 located 1000kms from the Southeast of Chennai. On December 26, IMD reported that the tropical disturbance intensified into a Deep Depression and may further intensify into a typhoon. Thane became the most intense tropical cyclone of 2011 within the Bay of Bengal. Thane reached the highest wind speed of 140km/h sustained for 3 minutes and 165km/h for one minute on December 29, 2011.

Eventually, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams and rescue teams had difficulties reaching several disaster-caused regions due to inaccessible roads made by the storm. After the warning of IMD, the anglers in Chennai, Kanchipuram, and Thiruvallur districts entirely halted their fishing activities for several days. About 10,000 fishing boats moved to safer places in these regions. People living in the low-lying areas shifted to a community hall and provided necessities, food, and medicine incessantly. Slowly, Thane made landfall on December 30 between Cuddalore and Puducherry and rapidly formed a remnant low on December 31.

Special Note: Myanmar coined the name ‘Thane’.

Vardah - Cyclone in Tamil Nadu


If you are living in Chennai, you would unquestionably know about the Vardah cyclone. One of the most disastrous cyclones in Tamil Nadu faced by the people of Chennai showed the other face of the metropolitan city. You would have never seen Chennai city with such a devastating look before. Floods, heavy rainfall, severe storm, diseases like Malaria, suspended power supply, food scarcity, et cetera affected the people for more than a month. The river water filled the houses in the low-lying ground because of the unsealing of several dams in Chennai. Heavy floods, drained the terrain on the banks of rivers in Chennai entirely.

Nearly 9500 people across the city were safeguarded in 95 relief centres. According to State Principal Secretary, 260 trees and 37 electric poles had fallen, uprooted 190 trees, obstructed 224 roads across the city. Every news channel around the metro city captured the livelihood of the people aftermath of the enormous flood. Vardah nearly killed 24 people in the state and caused ₹22,573 crores in damage. In addition, public transport was severely affected by the cyclone formed on December 6, 2016. Finally, the storm attained its peak intensity on December 11 with the highest speed of 130 km/h that prolonged up to 3 minutes—and ultimately dissipated on December 19, 2016.

Special Note: Pakistan named the cyclone ‘Vardah’ signifies ‘red rose’.

Ockhi - Cyclone in Tamil Nadu


On November 22, 2017, The Indian Meteorological Department found a low-pressure area formed over the Andaman Sea from the influence of an upper air cyclonic circulation from the Gulf of Thailand. The warm air from the Gulf creates a low-pressure area, then the air cools down and moves aside towards India. This cyclonic circulation lay over the Southern East part and adjoining Bay of Bengal on November 23 and gradually moved towards Sri Lanka and the Southern part of India on November 29. It caused heavy rainfall over south Tamil Nadu on 28th and 29th Nov. Eventually, it increased to torrential rain on 1st & 2nd December over South Tamil Nadu.

Gradually, On November 29, 2017, cyclone Ockhi formed into a Depression off the southeast coast of Sri Lanka. The day Cyclone Ockhi stroke the southern part of Tamil Nadu and Kerala caused catastrophic damage, particularly in the Kanyakumari District of Tamil Nadu and the Capital District of Kerala. The damage caused by the Ockhi cyclone was estimated at nearly ₹1000 crore in Tamil Nadu, with the life of 203 people. On December 2, Tamil Nadu and Kerala Governments sent The Navy and Coast Guard to search anglers around the Indian Ocean.

According to the reports of the Tamil Nadu Government, Ockhi damaged nearly 1,687 houses completely, and partially damaged 2,814 homes. A total number of 74 anglers were missing from Tamil Nadu. The Government announced relief to the tune of ₹41 lakhs had been provided to the families. And finally, on December 6, 2017, cyclone Ockhi dissipated slowly.

Special Note: Bangladesh suggested the name ‘Ockhi’ refers to ‘eye‘.

Gaja - Cyclone in Tamil Nadu


The severe cyclonic storm Gaja that hit Tamil Nadu was the second-largest cyclone that formed over the Bay of Bengal in 2018. Moreover, it was the first-ever looping track cyclone since 1996 and had one of the lengthiest track lengths of 3,418km. Weather News blogger Pradeep John said that since 1842, only six hurricanes have looped, including Gaja, making it a rare occurrence. Gaja made a hefty strike on the Southern part of Tamil Nadu, wreaked havoc leaving 52 people dead, and damaged 18,000 hectares of Coconut trees, mostly uprooted. The cyclone obliterated thousands of cattle and birds.

When the hit of hurricane, the people experienced a 175km/h speed gale. In Adhirampattinam, the IMD officials recorded the highest wind gust of 181 km/h. Gaja mainly affected the Delta region of Tamil Nadu, including Pudukkottai, Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Thiruvarur, Karikkal, Ramanathapuram, and Trichy. Suddenly, On November 5, 2018, Gaja formed as a low-pressure system and intensified into a deep depression on November 10, which turned into a cyclonic storm on November 11. At last disintegrated into a remnant low on November 20, 2018.

Special Note: ‘Elephant‘ is the meaning of ‘Gaja’ given by Sri Lanka.

Nivar -Cyclone in Tamil Nadu


Nivar Cyclone was the fourth cyclone of the 2020 North Indian Ocean cyclone season. Like the Ockhi cyclone, Nivar also originated from a disturbance in the Intertropical Convergence Zone. On 23rd November 2020, it steadily developed into a tropical depression. Immediately on November 24, the Tamil Nadu government appointed 6 NDRF teams to Cuddalore. The State Government announced a state-wide holiday on November 25. Because of the negative shades during the Vardah cyclone, the officials took immediate precautions all over the state, especially in Chennai.

Chennai received an uninterrupted cloudburst on 23,24,25 November 2020 with an IMD Chennai highest recording of 31cm. Due to an extreme rainstorm, for the first time in five years, the Government released Chembarambakkam Lake. The Nivar cyclone also affected Puducherry. CM of Puducherry V. Narayanasamy reported that the estimated loss in the Union Territory is ₹400 crores. It has approximately estimated that the damage due to the Nivar Cyclone was ₹4,384 crores and total fatalities of 14. The cyclone weakened into a Deep Depression on November 27, 2020.

Special Note: Iran suggested the name ‘Nivar,’ which represents ‘light‘.

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2 thoughts on “5 Most Disastrous and Terrific Cyclones in Tamil Nadu

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