Deadly Tornado Strikes Mainaguri, West Bengal

Deadly Tornado Strikes Mainaguri, West Bengal

On March 31, 2024, a devastating tornado hit the Mainaguri area of Jalpaiguri district, West Bengal, causing casualties and significant damage.

Casualties and Damage

  • The tornado lasted approximately 10 minutes, resulting in the loss of five lives and leaving over a hundred injured.

Factors Contributing to Tornado Occurrence

  • Changing Climate Patterns: Increasing occurrences of tornadoes in India attributed to warming Bay of Bengal and anomalous wind patterns.
  • Definition of Tornado: A tornado is a land-based vertical column of violently rotating air originating from a thunderstorm, capable of reaching wind speeds between 105-322 kilometers per hour.

Tornado Occurrences in India

  • Geographical Spread: Primarily reported in eastern states like West Bengal, Odisha, and Jharkhand during the pre-monsoon period, with some instances in northwest India.
  • Historical Records: India Meteorological Department (IMD) documented tornado occurrences, notably in eastern and northwest India, indicating a historical trend.

Monitoring and Prediction

  • Lack of Official Monitoring: Unlike countries like the United States, India lacks official monitoring systems for tornadoes.
  • Cyclonic Circulation and Weather Patterns: Tornado occurrences often associated with specific weather patterns such as cyclonic circulations and troughs.

Expert Insights

  • Causes: Raghu Murtugudde, a climate scientist, suggests that tornadoes result from the collision of warm, moist air with dry, cool air in the presence of a low-pressure system like a trough.
  • Impact of Changing Winds: Anomalous wind patterns, along with warm ocean and land, contribute to the formation and intensification of tornadoes in India.

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs):

  1. When did the tornado strike the Mainaguri area of Jalpaiguri district?
    • A) March 31, 2022
    • B) March 31, 2023
    • C) March 31, 2024
    • D) March 31, 2025
    • Answer: C) March 31, 2024
  2. What is the primary reason behind the increasing occurrences of tornadoes in India?
    • A) Warming Arctic region
    • B) Warming Bay of Bengal and anomalous wind patterns
    • C) Decreasing ocean temperatures
    • D) Weakening of atmospheric pressure
    • Answer: B) Warming Bay of Bengal and anomalous wind patterns
  3. In which region of India have tornadoes been predominantly reported during the pre-monsoon period?
    • A) Northern states
    • B) Southern states
    • C) Eastern states
    • D) Western states
    • Answer: C) Eastern states
  4. How are tornadoes monitored in the United States?
    • A) By India Meteorological Department (IMD)
    • B) Through official government agencies
    • C) By meteorologists at NWS using satellite and radar data
    • D) By local community organizations
    • Answer: C) By meteorologists at NWS using satellite and radar data