'Very severe' Cyclone Biparjoy makes landfall in India, could set records

The deadly cyclone ripped across western India on Thursday and is gradually weakening as it heads toward Pakistan.

GUJARAT, India – "Very severe" Cyclone Biparjoy made landfall in western India on Thursday evening, according to the India Meteorological Department. The storm could become one for the record books as the longest-lived cyclone in the Arabian Sea, according to NOAA.

Indian officials evacuated more than 100,000 people from coastal provinces. Pakistan evacuated about 82,000 people, according to Reuters. More than 200,000 animals were evacuated as well across both countries, but stray dogs were left behind.


"All the people living in mud house(s) have been evacuated to safer places," a local legislator told Reuters. "Food and water has been provided to them." 

Deadly storm

Several people died before the storm made landfall, many from drowning off the coast of Mumbai, according to NOAA.

Hurricane winds gusting up to 87 mph tore down trees and peeled the exteriors off of buildings. The 9-foot storm surge swamped businesses and washed away temporary beach housing in Gujarat, India. The India Meteorological Department forecast that the storm will weaken slightly before heading for Pakistan.


This is Pakistan's most dangerous storm since the deadly flooding in August 2022. The wettest monsoon season since recordkeeping started in the country dropped rain that was 10 times more than normal, according to the Economic Times. Almost 1,200 people died, and more than a third of Pakistan was underwater.

Possible record setter

"Unusually warm" ocean waters fueled the storm that at one point was a Category 3 cyclone. Warm water temperatures also contributed to the storm's "unusually long lifespan," according to NOAA and the India Meteorological Department.

The longest-lived Arabian Sea cyclone was Kyarr in 2019 which held on for nine days and 15 hours. Biparjoy is getting close.

"The reason why Biparjoy has lasted so long is that it is feeding on warm waters in the Arabian Sea," Raghu Murtugudde, a visiting professor at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, who studies the role of oceans in tropical climate variability, told NOAA. "Biparjoy is an example of how climate change – especially warming in the upper ocean – is contributing to cyclones moving slower and lasting longer."

NOAA stated that cyclones in the Arabian Sea are rare. A 2021 study found that over the past 40 years, cyclones in the basin have become more frequent and longer lasting, linked to the sea temperature rise.