Cyclone 'Remal': How it got the name, what does it mean?

Clouds hover over 'Muri Ganga' River ahead of the landfall of cyclone 'Remal', in South 24 Parganas district of West Benagl. Photo: PTI

The coastal areas of West Bengal, Odisha and Bangladesh are bracing for cyclone, 'Ramal'. This time the name of the cyclone has been suggested by Oman. In Arabic 'Remal' means sand. Sultanate of Oman had agreed to assign names to the tropical cyclones in the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea from the year 2000.

As the India Meteorological Department (IMD) is part of the Regional Specialised Meteorological Centres (RSMCs), it also gives names to tropical cyclones after consulting with 12 other countries in the region. The first pre-monsoon tropical cyclone in the region this year, 'Remal' is expected to make landfall in areas between Sagar Island in West Bengal and Khepupara in Bangladesh on Sunday midnight.

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD) cyclone 'Ramal' may gain wind speeds of 120 kilometres per hour and cause flooding in many places. Fisherfolk out in the sea have been asked to return to the coast and others have been warned against venturing into the Bay of Bengal until May 27.

Tropical cyclones in the Indian subcontinent are named by various regional meteorological departments responsible for monitoring and forecasting these storms. The naming systems differ slightly between different regions within the Indian Ocean basin.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) names cyclones that form in the North Indian Ocean, including the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. They have a predefined list of names for cyclones that originate in these regions.

These names are suggested by countries surrounding the Indian Ocean, and each country contributes a set of names. The practice of naming of tropical cyclones over the North Indian Ocean began since September 2004. The names are assigned sequentially whenever a cyclone forms, moving through the list alphabetically.

Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, and Thailand also contribute names to the list used by the IMD. For cyclones forming in the Southwest Indian Ocean, the Meteorological Services of Mauritius, Madagascar, and Mozambique are responsible for naming storms. They maintain a separate list of names for cyclones affecting their region.
These naming systems help in quickly identifying and communicating information about cyclones to the public and authorities, aiding in preparedness and response efforts.

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