Cyclone Nivar - Important Facts

Cyclone Nivar is a ‘severe cyclonic storm’ that hit the southeastern coast of India in the early hours of 26 November 2020. Cyclones and other natural disasters that affect India and the world are important topics for the UPSC exam. It is important for both the geography and the disaster management topics in the UPSC syllabus.

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Cyclone Nivar

After making landfall near Puducherry in the early hours of 26th November 2020, cyclone Nivar weakened into a ‘severe cyclonic storm’. No loss of life has been reported because of the cyclone.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) had earlier stated that the severe cyclone Nivar will intensify into a ‘very severe cyclonic storm’ and make landfall between Mamallapuram (in Tamil Nadu, around 56 km from Chennai) and Karaikal in Puducherry, on 25th November at midnight or early hours of the 26th of November.

  • The Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts are experiencing heavy rains and strong winds due to the impending cyclone. Many parts of the metropolitan city of Chennai have been flooded due to the heavy rainfall.
  • The winds that the cyclone brings could be between 120 and 130 km per hour, with gusts of up to 145 km per hour.
  • Officials had stated they would release water from the Chembarambakkam reservoir near Chennai due to the heavy rain received in the wake of Nivar.
  • People living in low-lying areas have been evacuated.
  • The Indian Army has sent teams and rescue boats to the affected areas for assistance in the aftermath of the landfall.
  • Thousands of people have been evacuated as a precautionary measure.
  • Trains and flights have been cancelled owing to the cyclone.
  • Experts say that after landfall, the cyclone may take up to six hours to weaken.
  • The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has deployed 1200 personnel in the affected areas of Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Andhra Pradesh. Additional teams are on standby in Thrissur in Kerala and Cuttack in Odisha.
  • As the cyclone moves inwards, Andhra Pradesh is also expecting heavy rainfall, and Nellore and Chittoor districts are on alert.
  • 13 districts of Tamil Nadu have declared a public holiday on November 26. They are Chennai, Kancheepuram, Vellore, Villupuram, Cuddalore, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Chengalpet, Thanjavur, Tiruvannamalai, Mayiladuthurai, Perambalur and Ariyalur.
  • The Puducherry Government has also declared a public holiday until the 28th of November.
  • Red Alert has been declared in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Andhra Pradesh.

Who Named Cyclone Nivar?

Nivar was named by Iran according to the tropical cyclone naming convention.

  • The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) maintains a rotating list of names suitable for each tropical cyclone basin. 
  • Tropical cyclones originating in the Bay of Bengal or the Arabian Sea are covered under the North Indian Ocean Region. Countries under this region are India, Bangladesh, Iran, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates.
  • The naming of tropical cyclones in this region started in 2004.
  • Here, the names are not repeated. Once used, the name will not be used again, and new names will be used.
  • In 2020, a new list of cyclone names was issued by IMD, following WMO guidelines. 
  • The new list consists of 13 names each for the 13 member countries, totaling 169. 
  • The names from India include Gati, Tej, Murasu, Aag, Vyom, Jhar, Probaho, Neer, Prabhanjan, Ghurni, Ambud, Jaladhi and Vega.
  • The RSMC New Delhi Tropical Cyclone Center is responsible to name the tropical cyclones that have formed over the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea when they have reached the relevant intensity.

Frequently Asked Questions on Cyclone Nivar

Q 1. Which Indian states and union territories were worst hit by Cyclone Nivar?

Ans. The states and union territories impacted by cyclone Nivar include Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

Q 2. Why was the cyclone named ‘Nivar’?

Ans. The cyclone was named Nivar by Iran in terms with the tropical cyclone naming convention. In Parsi language, Nivar means ‘light’.

For more on tropical cyclones and related issues, click on the links in the table below.

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