Tropical Cyclone Sidr (the Arabic word for the jujube tree) made landfall this morning (EST) in western Bangladesh. The World Meteorological Organization office charged with providing the official tropical cyclone forecasts in the Bay of Bengal is the Regional Specialized Meteorological Center (RSMC) within the India Meteorology Department in New Dehli.
Based on the latest web posting from the RSMC New Dehli (as well as forecasts from the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center), Sidr was likely the equivalent of a Category 4 Hurricane in the Atlantic.
Millions of people live in the low-lying coastal areas of Bangladesh, and the biggest problem from Sidr will be the storm surge due to the funneling effects in the Bay of Bengal.
Past tragedies in this area include the Great Bhola Cyclone (Category 4) in 1970 that killed at least 300,000 people in Bangladesh (with some estimates up to 500,000) and the 1991 Bangladesh Cyclone (Category 5) that killed 140,000 in that country.
Let us pray that history does not repeat itself.