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Rajkanika Tornado Disaster Management, 31st March, 2009
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A tornado accompanied with wind speed of about 250 kmph, thunderstorm, rainfall and hailstorm affected Rajkanika Block of Kendrapara district at about 4.40 pm on 31st March, 2009. 15 human lives were lost and several persons were injured. 10 villages of Rajkanika Block i.e. Barada, Badatala, Asasa, Baghabuda, Govindpur, Kantapada, (Rajkanika Block Headquarters), Ganja, Achutapur, Mukundpur, Manaidiha, Dasagharia, Mangalpur and Dalikainda were severely affected. Thousands of huge trees were uprooted and a number of houses were damaged.
As per the synoptic, climatological and thermodynamic analysis of the tornado by India Meteorological Department (IMD), the salient features of the tornado are as follows:
(i)          It was embedded in a thunder squall line.

(ii)        According to Doppler weather radar (DWR), Kolkata, the convective cloud cluster moved from north-northwest to south-southeast during its genesis, growth and maturation stages like a Nor’wester. It is almost supported by the orientation of the area affected by the tornado.

(iii)       The maximum surface wind speed was about 250 kmph.

(iv)       The convection developed after 1430 hrs IST and dissipated over the sea by 1730 hrs IST with a life period of less than three hours. The tornado survived for about 10 minutes, hitting ground at 1640 hrs IST, according to eye witnesses.

Visual appearance
            The eye witness account says that the sky was overcast with tall and black cloud mass near Ostia village. Around 1640 hrs IST, the sky became red with roaring sound coming from that village. Prior to the touch down, the tornado looked reddish in its bottom layer.  
 Accoustic Phenomena
            According to the personal experiences of the people from affected area, an unusual roaring sound was observed by the time the tornado crossed the villages. The explosive sound heard by this time indicated that the pressure gradient within the funnel cloud was the maximum during the touch down.
 Associated weather
            Light intermittent rainfall occurred at some places, like Chandbali to the north of the tornado site before the storm. As soon as the tornado passed over the area, moderate to heavy hail storm occurred over the area which was accompanied by rain/showers for about one hour. Hail stones were of marble size in general and in some places they were large in size. So the approximate diameter of the hail stones was less than 2 cm and in some places their diameter ranged from 2-5 cm. Afterwards, the intermittent rain with light to moderate intensity continued till evening (1800 hrs).
            In the approaching funnel cloud, a very bright red colour was observed upto a height of 50-100 meters above ground. It looked peculiarly reddish at the touch down point. Immediately after the touch down, continuous heavy lightning and thunder started hitting the area for about an hour and intermittent lightning persisted till evening.
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