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No fury like a raving cyclone
Do you know the word 'Cyclone' was coined after the Indian city of Coringa witnessed one of the disastrous storms in World history. This devasting event completely wrecked the city to a point that couldn't be recovered.
People rebuilding the port city of Coringa after the cyclone; Image source: Wikipedia

Happened on 25th November 1839

The city of Coringa was bursting with crowd and noise. It was among the busiest of ports situated on the banks of river Godavari in Andhra Pradesh province. Unaware of the storm brewing in the Bay of Bengal, the people went on with their daily schedule.

On 25th November 1839, a furious tropical cyclone hit Coringa. The speed remains unknown to date but the storm surge that rose were up to 40 feet high. It completely dismantled the city and ravaged 20,000 vessels.

It's hard pinpointing the details of such a disaster but the number of fatalities was around 3,00,000- the third-largest cause of loss of life by any tropical cyclone to have ever hit the planet.

Coringa wasn't a place that was new to such disasters. Even 50 years ago a cyclone hit the city and took 20,000 lives but the city was able to rejuvenate. However, after this particular episode Coringa never fully recovered to its former glory and remains a small village to date. Being so prone to cyclones the British renamed this place to 'Hope Island' hoping it would catch some luck that prevents it from future disasters.

It was after this devasting storm at Coringa that Henry Piddington, the President of Marine Courts of Inquiry at Kolkata, presented his past studies of such storms, this storm in particular in front of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. During this presentation, he coined the term 'Cyclone' to describe the coiling of winds, or even resembling the coils made by a snake. Cyclones are now used to refer to storms that are originated in the South Pacific and the Indian Ocean.

This disaster became the basis of the study of many theories about cyclone-their causes, formation and prediction. Like it was found out why this particular city was so prone to cyclones. It was so because it lay on the coast of the Bay of Bengal. In fact Bay of Bengal accounts for seven of the ten deadliest cyclonic activities in World history.

This is because the Bay of Bengal is warmer compared to the Arabian Sea which initiates the formation of intensive cyclonic formation. A warm sea is an ideal platform for Cyclones.

After the cyclone, the people of Coringa together started planning the city to withstand such storms. They built houses away from the coast. However, after 1905, the re-construction of the port was put to a halt due to sand casting and the port nature of Coringa disappeared with time.

Now, Coringa is a lush green landscape with some rare animals that can be seen in the Coringa Wildlife sanctuary but no sign of the international famed port can be seen.
Astha Kumari Author
Currently a resident of neverland who is confused most of the time. Prefers to paint places that I am too lazy to visit and only bursts my bubble to yoke together my love for words and aesthetics.

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