Deadly Bangaldesh cyclone one of longest seen

Bangladeshi weather experts said Tuesday that a deadly cyclone that carved a swathe of destruction was one of the quickest-forming and longest-lasting they'd experienced, blaming climate change for the shift.

Cyclone Remal, which made landfall in low-lying Bangladesh and neighbouring India on Sunday evening with fierce gales and crashing waves, left at least 21 people dead, destroyed thousands of homes, smashed seawalls and flooded cities across the two countries.

"In terms of its land duration, it is one of the longest in the country's history," Azizur Rahman, director of the state-run Bangladesh Meteorological Department told AFP, adding it had battered the country for more than 36 hours.

In contrast, Cyclone Aila, which hammered Bangladesh in 2009, lasted around 34 hours.

Cyclones have killed hundreds of thousands of people in Bangladesh in recent decades, and the number of superstorms hitting its densely populated coast has increased sharply, from one a year to as many as three, due to the impact of climate change.

Slow-moving — and therefore longer-lasting — storms bring greater destruction.

Rahman said the cyclone triggered massive rains, with some cities receiving at least 200 millimeters (7.9 inches).

  'Impact of climate change' 

He said the cyclone formed more quickly than almost all the cyclones they have monitored in recent decades.

"Of course, quick cyclone formation and the long duration of cyclones are due to the impact of climate change," Rahman said.

"It took three days for it to turn into a severe cyclone from low pressure in the Bay of Bengal... I've never seen a cyclone formed from a low pressure in such a quick time", he said.

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