Severe Tropical Cyclone Sidr Threatens Bangladesh

Although it is outside of the normal realm of discussion on this board, the potential magnitude of the impending disaster in Bangladesh merits at least brief mention. Currently a powerful catergory 4 cyclone with sustained winds near 150 mph, the storm is expected to maintain its strength or potentially even strengthen some more before making landfall on the Bangladeshi coast some time tomorrow. Cyclones in this region have historically generated devastating storm surges in the very low-lying coastal nation which have resulted in enormous loss of life (several instances where deaths numbered in the hundreds of thousands). This looks to be just about as close to a worst-case scenario for this already vulnerable region as can be imagined–10,000,000 people live along the immediate coast near where the storm will likely make landfall. Hopefully this won’t turn out to be quite as bad as some are prognosticating, but given the look of things right now, the situation looks very grim, indeed. The U.S. press, perhaps unsuprisingly, has not yet picked up on this story at all. This will probably change by tomorrow night. I am beginning to feel the same uneasy sentiment that was triggered by the 28 km infrared image of Katrina 24 hours before that storm’s landfall in Louisiana in 2005…

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