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The deep depression over the Arabian Sea has intensified into cyclonic storm ‘Tauktae’ and is likely to cross the Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Naliya around May 18, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Saturday. It said Tauktae will be a very severe cyclonic storm from May 16-18.

In a bulletin released at 1:45 PM, the IMD said, “It (Tauktae) is very likely to intensify further into a severe cyclonic storm during the next six hours and into a very severe cyclonic storm during the subsequent 12 hours. It is very likely to move north-northwestwards and cross the Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Naliya around 18th May afternoon/evening.”

Cyclone Tauktae LIVE Updates: IMD Issues Thunderstorm Warning For Karnataka For The Next 24 Hours

How The Cyclone Was Named ‘Tauktae’ and Who Names Them

The name “Tauktae” has been given by Myanmar, which means “gecko”, meaning a highly vocal lizard in Burmese. This is going to be the first cyclonic storm of this year along the Indian coast. Tropical cyclones are officially named by one of its warning centres spread across the globe under the aegis of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

Since tropical cyclones can last for a week and more, there can be more than one cyclone at a time. Names are thus given to the storms so that forecasters avoid confusion. In general, tropical cyclones are named according to the rules at regional level. In the Indian ocean and South Pacific region, tropical cyclones receive names alphabetically, and women and men’s names are alternated.

Nations in the Northern Indian ocean began using a new system for naming tropical cyclones in 2000; the names are listed alphabetically country wise, and are neutral gender wise. The common rule is that the name list is proposed by the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) of WMO Members of a specific region, and approved by the respective tropical cyclone regional bodies at their annual/biennual sessions.

The WMO/United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (WMO/ESCAP) Panel on Tropical Cyclones (PTC) has members from 13 countries – India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Maldives, Oman, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen which decide the name of the cyclone.

The panel, which had eight members in 2004, had finalised a list of 64 names — eight names from each country. The name Amphan for the cyclone that wreaked havoc in India last year was the last name on that list. The WMO/ESCAP committee expanded the list of members in 2018 to include five more countries. Last year, a new list was released that has 169 names of cyclones, a compilation of 13 suggestions each from 13 countries.

If the storm causes a large number of deaths or damages, any member of the WMO’s hurricane, typhoon and tropical cyclone committees can request the withdrawal of the cyclone’s name from the naming list. A replacement name is then submitted to the committee concerned and voted upon.

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