Cyclone Amphan 2020

Start Date

May 16, 2020

Overview

Cyclone Amphan formed on Saturday, May 16, 2020 in the Northern Indian Ocean and was initially designated Tropical Cyclone 01B. It quickly strengthened to a Category 5 cyclone as it moved north in the Bay of Bengal, making it the most powerful cyclone to form in the Bay of Bengal to date. Cyclone Amphan made landfall at 0900 UTC (2:30 PM local time) on May 20, 2020 as a Category 2-equivelent storm on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale, with winds measuring 90 knots (165 kilometers / 105 miles per hour). Landfall occurred near the India-Bangladesh border along the northern edge of the Bay of Bengal. Though it weakened before making landfall, it caused widespread damage in both India and Bangladesh due to high winds, storm surge and flooding rainfall. It is estimated that it caused $13.2 billion dollars in West Bengal alone, according to the Indian government.

Natural-color image of Cyclone Amphan from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA’s Aqua satellite, acquired just prior to landfall at 1 p.m. India Standard Time (07:30 Universal Time) on May 20th, 2020. Credit: NASA

Natural-color image of Cyclone Amphan from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA’s Aqua satellite, acquired just prior to landfall at 1 p.m. India Standard Time (07:30 Universal Time) on May 20th, 2020. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

Cyclone Amphan formed on Saturday, May 16, 2020 in the Northern Indian Ocean and was initially designated Tropical Cyclone 01B. It quickly strengthened to a Category 5 cyclone as it moved north in the Bay of Bengal, making it the most powerful cyclone to form in the Bay of Bengal to date. Cyclone Amphan made landfall at 0900 UTC (2:30 PM local time) on May 20, 2020 as a Category 2-equivelent storm on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale, with winds measuring 90 knots (165 kilometers / 105 miles per hour). Landfall occurred near the India-Bangladesh border along the northern edge of the Bay of Bengal. Though it weakened before making landfall, it caused widespread damage in both India and Bangladesh due to high winds, storm surge and flooding rainfall. It is estimated that it caused $13.2 billion dollars in West Bengal alone, according to the Indian government.

This Damage Proxy Map (DPM) shows likely damaged areas in red and yellow at several regions around the India / Bangladesh border. The map was derived from synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data acquired before (May 16) and after (May 22) the event from the C

This Damage Proxy Map (DPM) shows likely damaged areas in red and yellow at several regions around the India / Bangladesh border. The map was derived from synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data acquired before (May 16) and after (May 22) the event from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellites, operated by the European Space Agency (ESA). This data was processed by the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) in collaboration with the Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis (ARIA) team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. This DPM should be used as guidance to identify damaged areas, and may be less reliable over vegetated areas. 

The NASA Earth Applied Sciences Disasters Program has activated to Tier 1 for Cyclone Amphan and is monitoring the situation to determine what NASA resources and capabilities may be available to support response and recovery for this event. The Disasters Program is in contact with stakeholders from the World Food Programme (WFP) and is providing Damage Proxy Maps (DPMs) and Flood Proxys Maps (FPMs) to help identify regions that were likely damaged or flooded by the storm. DPMs and FPMs generated from Sentinel-1 SAR data acquired on May 23rd were used to generate estimates that 21,260 buildings and 121,066 people were affected within the areas covered by the DPM.

Latest Updates

May 19, 2020
GPM IMERG estimated rainfall totals from Cyclone Amphan from May 16 - 19, 2020. Credit: Owen Kelly (NASA GSFC)
NASA monitored the heavy rain associated with Tropical Cyclone Amphan as it made landfall at 0900 UTC (2:30 PM local time) on May 20, 2020. Landfall occurred near the India-Bangladesh border along the northern edge of the Bay of Bengal. At the time of the most recent satellite observation used to generate this image (0900 UTC, May 20), heavy rain had started falling along the coast but large accumulations had not yet occurred over land. So far the largest rainfall accumulation from Amphan has fallen over the Bay of Bengal on May 18 while Amphan was at category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale.