A history of devastating cyclonesThe Bay of Bengal has experienced many deadly tropical cyclones, the result of warm air and water temperatures producing storms that strike the large populations along the coast.Officials said Cyclone Fani could be the most powerful to strike India since 1999, when a cyclone lingered for more than a day over India’s eastern coast, flooding villages, blowing apart houses and ultimately killing more than 10,000 people.Since that storm, the authorities in the region have significantly improved disaster preparation and response capabilities, strengthening coastal embankments and preparing evacuation routes, according to a World Bank report. Subsequent major storms have resulted in far fewer deaths.The state of Odisha was much better prepared for Cyclone Phailin in 2013. About one million people were evacuated, more than twice as many as in 1999, and the storm killed 45 people, the World Bank said.“All of these efforts bore fruit when Cyclone Phailin made landfall,” the report said.Cyclone Fani could still bring severe dangers to the region, however, threatening flooding in inland river basins, depending on its path, in the Ganges River delta region, where the Indian city of Kolkata is home to millions.In 2007, Cyclone Sidr killed at least 3,000 people in nearby Bangladesh, and in 1991, a cyclone killed at least 1,000 there and left millions homeless. In 1970, the so-called Great Bhola Cyclone drove a tidal wave into what was then East Pakistan, in a disaster that killed an estimated 300,000 people, according to the World Meteorological Organization’s World Weather & Climate Extremes Archive.“Unfortunately this region, especially the delta area, has produced the highest death tolls from tropical cyclones on the planet,” said Mr. Herndon, the storm researcher. “Many people live in regions barely above sea level.”

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