Guwahati: An alarming news of cyclonic storm ‘Mahasen’ expecting to hit Northeast India in the next 72 hours with heavy rains and windstorms is going viral on social media platforms, especially on Facebook-owned WhatsApp. The news, which is fake, is spreading like wildfire, creating confusion among netizens.
According to the fake reports, the cyclonic storm is expected to cross the Bangladesh coast between Khepupara and Teknaff, close to Chittagong, on May 16.
The rumours circulating on social media said that the Northeast region could reel under heavy spells of rainfalls, especially Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura.
As per the Indian Meteorological Department, as quoted by the fake news on social media, the Northeast could also face heavy winds measuring from 65-75 km per hour that could even gust to 85 kmph.
In reality, cyclone Mahasen was a relatively weak tropical cyclone that caused loss of life across six countries in Southern and Southeastern Asia in 2013 . These countries were India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Myanmar. Wind speeds of up to 85 km per hour were recorded then. The storm caused the loss of over 100 lives across the six countries.
Operationally, the storm was referred to as Mahasen; however, this stirred some controversy from nationalists and officials in Sri Lanka. They claimed that the name comes from King Mahasena who brought prosperity to the island. Hence, naming a destructive force of nature after the king would be improper, they had argued.
As such, Sri Lankan agencies referred to the system as a nameless cyclone and requested that international agencies do the same. The name had been submitted to be used in the basin by Sri Lanka in 2003. The India Meteorological Department later renamed the system as ‘Viyaru’ in their final reports and removed Mahasen from all previous archived advisories.