November 15, 2007

Cyclone Sidr: Blogger experiences and reactions

The animation of the Sidr cyclone hitting Bangladesh

Toufiq: Chittagong, Bangladesh 01:29 AM Bangladesh Time (+6 GMT) (in Bangla)
Electricity just went. Its raining heavily outside. Gusty winds are also present. I am awake for unknown danger. Does anybody know cyclone when the cyclone will be past Chittagong or is it really in Chittagong?
Tanvir: 03:00 AM Bangladesh Time (+6 GMT):
The Storm is crossing Barishal and still a category 3 hurricane. It will scale down to category one in 12 hours.
The Uncultured Project: View from Dhaka, Bangladesh
"It felt like something out of a movie. I was in a car on the way home - it was fifteen minutes to midnight. There wasn’t a soul on the street and the only sounds you could hear were the rain beating down on the streets, the noise of the wind, and the car’s engine. It was pitch black too - every home, apartment, and building as far as the eye could see had no electricity. Then - all of a sudden - a blinding bright light and a roar erupts right next to the car - just outside of my side of the car. My window then gets showered in glowing sparks.

I wasn’t in any danger - it was just a transformer exploding. But, for the first time in this whole time in Bangladesh - I was scared…

I’m writing this on my battery’s laptop power. The glow of the screen is the only thing that is lighting up this room. Now, this isn’t the first time there’s been a blackout - but this time it’s different. This isn’t the first time its rained - but this it’s different. It’s different because, this time it’s caused by Cyclone Sidr."

(Picture courtesy Times Online)

Updates from Ghour, Dhaka, Bangladesh (in Bangla):
- National Electricity grid was suspended in coastal regions of Khulna, Bagerhat, Pirozpur and Barishal around 7:30 PM last evening. So mobile and land phone networks went dead.

- A huge damage is expected from the Sunderbans

- Tidal surges of 5-6 feet smashed Patuakhali's low-lying areas. Many houses were damaged in Chittagong and Lakxmipur.

- Chittagong University suspended its classes and exams today.

- The Cox-Bazar coast was inundated with tidal surges of 7-8 feets.

- The scyclone has turned into a storm and its dying down. But it has been raining continuously in many areas.

- Reports have been coming that 3 persons died in Barishal.

The Intersection: USA
It's about time. It's past time. Bay of Bengal cyclones have previously killed tens or even hundreds of thousands from storm surges and flooding. While those of us watching Sidr develop have been sounding alarm, the U.S. media has all but ignored an impending tragedy. Today the storm made landfall and they've finally noticed. While Chris and I don't understand why it took so long to make top headlines, we're thankful that collective American attention is now focused intently on this catastrophic storm hitting the most vulnerable place on earth.

I fear this storm may be a worst case scenario. It's my sincere hope that we're mistaken. #
Dr. Jeff Masters' WunderBlog at Weather Underground: USA:

Interesting unoffical reading from Barisal as before the surge arrived and station went offline:

Wind readings of almost 100mph from the NE - and well outside the eyewall. The most destructive winds near the centre of the storm will hit this site from the SSE and be much more intense...

All available stations where the remains of Sidr's CDO lie are now currently offline from reporting...

Bideshi Blue: USA/Bangladesh:
Although the government says its preparations include the shelters built after the previous cyclone, many are asking: What shelters and in what condition? Both Masters and the BBC among others have commented on the limited number of 2500 multi-use shelters and many of them are in poor condition for the millions that need them.
Related: Sidr strikes Bangladesh - news updates


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