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On This Day



On This Day… A Cyclone Hit Calcutta

Written by: George Chittenden : 05 Jun 2019

It was on this day, 5th Oct, back in 1864 when a devastating cyclone hit the city of Calcutta in India, flooding the entire city and killing 60,000 people. Unfortunately, meteorological conditions in India create the perfect landscape for enormously destructive storms.

This is because India lies south of the Tropic of Cancer which means water temperatures are high, and the wind can carry lots of vapour which results in lots of rain. The 1864 cyclone crossed the east coast of India south of the Hooghly River, one of the streams that constitute the delta of the River Ganges at around 10am. As the waterway narrowed the cyclone created a forty-foot high wall of water, because it coincided with high tide that day.

As you can imagine it destroyed virtually everything in its path. The cyclone itself killed many people, but thousands of others died later from the sicknesses and diseases that followed. In the months that followed the city of Calcutta and its harbour had to be rebuilt.

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