Cyclone #Mocha: Potential Major Catastrophe for #Myanmar, #Bangladesh

Cyclone Mocha continues to intensify, and is now forecast to make landfall on the Northern Myanmar (Burma) coast as a Category 4 Hurricane. Here is the latest TAOS/TC damage estimate based on the Joint Typhoon Warning Center track as of this morning (Saturday) …

Mocha impact swath. Click to embiggen.

Winds at landfall are forecast to be 115 knots (180 km/hr, 135 mph). Storm Surge will likely be over 5 meters in places, and inland rainfall flooding likely extensive as well. Of special concern here is the Kutupalong refugee camps located near Cox’s Bazar (noted with the green tent in the map above). This and associated informal camps are the world’s largest concentration of refugees, containing perhaps upwards of a million people (mostly Rohingya) from the ongoing ethnic and religious based conflict in Myanmar. The camps will most likely experience moderate tropical storm conditions, being on the weak side of the storm. Unfortunately, given the informal construction and difficult conditions already existing in the camps, this is likely to trigger a major humanitarian disaster far out of proportion to ordinary impacts.

JTWC has tended to over estimate winds in recent years, hopefully this will be no exception. However, this is a major storm, and only a significant shift to the south will reduce the potential for catastrophe. Unfortunately that does not seen to be in the cards; if anything, the track models are leaning more towards the north, and if the GFS and ECMF track model trends hold, it is possible the camps will experience hurricane conditions. Here are the current major track models … the red line is the JTWC forecast, purple ECM, blue GFS. Both forcast the jog to the right this morning, but show landfall closer to the camps than the official forecast, which isn’t at all good.

Raw track major track models and JTWC forecast.

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