Bhubaneswar: With another very severe cyclonic storm looming over the state, it was recalled that so high was the wind speed of the super cyclone that ravaged Odisha in 1999 that the anemometers at the IMD office and at Paradip had failed to record it.
"The speed of the wind was so high that the anemometer installed at Bhubaneswar and Paradip could not record it," a report prepared by United Nations Development Programme, Odisha Disaster Management Authority and Utkal University said.
On October 29, 1999, the super cyclone with a wind speed of 300 mph had struck the state making it probably the greatest cyclonic disaster ever recorded in the last century, the report said.
The cyclone heading toward Gopalpur in Odisha`s Ganjam district beside Andhra Pradesh now has a relatively lesser wind speed of 175 to 185 kmph.
The 1999 super cyclone centred over coastal areas of the state for three days was accompanied by torrential rain as a tidal surge of about 7 to 10 meter swept 40 to 50 km inland, it said.
The magnitude of the devastation was such that it came to be known as a `super cyclone`.
While the cyclonic storm heading for Odisha now originated from near the Andaman Islands in the sea, the 1999 super cyclone had also originated from about 550 km east of the same area as a depression.
The 1999 storm with a diameter of 200 km and its eye at Paradip had made landfall near Ersama in Jagatsinghpur district at 10.30 am, it said.
Local IMD director Sarat Sahu today said the impending storm would cause a storm surge of about 1.5 metre to 2 metre this time, while in 1999 the state witnessed it at 7 meter to 10 metre.
The storm in 1999 led to 45 cm to 95 cm of rainfall affecting 14 coastal districts, 28 coastal towns and two major cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack.
While the official death toll then was 9,885 people, an estimated 1,500 children were orphaned, the report said. Of the total casualty, Jagatsinghpur district alone had accounted for 8,119 people.
At least 13 million people, including 3.3 million children, 5 million women and nearly 3.5 million aged people were affected in 1999.
Unofficial sources, however, estimated the toll to be above 50,000. The storm had left 7,505 injured, a loss of 3,15,886 head of cattle, 16,50,086 houses damaged, 23,129 houses washed away, 7,46,337 houses fully destroyed and 8,80,620 houses partially damaged.