India – Bhubaneswar before and after Fani: NASA images hint trail of destruction

Bhubaneswar before and after Fani: NASA images hint trail of destruction

India – Bhubaneswar before and after Fani: NASA images hint trail of destruction

US space agency NASA has released images showing the impact of Cyclone Fani, one of the worst storms to hit India in two decades, as millions were left without power after it barrelled through the eastern state’s coastal areas.

NASA’s images compare the situation in Bhubaneswar and the nighttime lights in Cuttack, Odisha’s second largest city north of the state capital, before and after Cyclone Fani, made landfall. The agency also shared the pictures on its Twitter handle.

“The images on this page are data visualizations of where the lights went out across some of the worst affected areas in Odisha. The images show city lighting on April 30 (before the storm) and on May 5, 2019, two days after Fani made landfall. The storm destroyed several transmission towers and uprooted as many as 156,000 utility poles that must re-installed,” NASA said in an article on Wednesday.

Thousands of people in Puri, where Cyclone Fani made landfall on May 3, and Bhubaneswar are without power even as the Odisha government assured citizens that electricity supply in the capital would be normalised by May 12.

The state has also sought the Centre’s help in the restoration of power and telecom services in Puri and Khurda districts, worst hit by Cyclone Fani, due to a shortage of skilled manpower. It has to install as many as 1.56 lakh electric poles uprooted by the extremely severe cyclone.

Cyclone Fani damaged five towers of 400 KV capacity, 27 towers of 220 KV capacity, 21 towers of 130 KV capacity, four grids of 220 KV capacity and four grids of 132 KV capacity. Similarly, 5,030 km of 33 KV lines, 38,613 km of 11 KV lines, 11,077 distribution transformers and 79,485 km of LT lines have been damaged.

NASA said the images were made from data acquired by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite.

“VIIRS has a “day-night band” that detects light in a range of wavelengths from green to near-infrared, including reflected moonlight, light from fires and oil wells, lightning, and emissions from cities or other human activity,” it said in the article.

“A team of scientists from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and Marshall Space Flight Center processed and corrected the raw VIIRS data to filter out stray light from natural sources (for example, moonlight) and from atmospheric interference, such as dust, haze, and thin clouds,” it added.

NASA satellites Aqua and Terra had tracked Cyclone Fani as it moved northwards along the eastern coast of India and provided infrared, microwave and visible imagery of the storm, the agency had said earlier in a blog post.

More than a million people were evacuated to temporary shelters hours before it made landfall. Puri, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, and Khurda were among the worst-affected districts as more than 35 people were killed during Cyclone Fani.

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