The prediction by the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) on the height of ocean waves hitting the coast at Odisha’s Gopalpur village at the time of Cyclone Phailin’s landfall was “realistic”, a senior scientist said here on Sunday.

Head of the Ocean Science and Information Services Group at INCOIS T.M. Balakrishnan Nair said the comparison between real-time observed data from a buoy deployed at Gopalpur and the forecast by INCOIS revealed a “successful prediction”.

He said the wave height observed at 5 p.m. on Saturday was 7.35 metres, while the forecast was 7 metres.

However, due to very high currents and winds of the cyclonic system, the buoy drifted 200 km away from Gopalpur before the cyclone’s landfall, and the observation could not be recorded at that time.

Dr. Nair said the wave height could have gone up to 8.5 metres at the time of landfall as forecast by INCOIS but the data could not be observed.

Explaining the difference between ocean waves and storm surge, he said the ocean wave after hitting the coast becomes a storm surge and inundates the area beyond the coast.

The storm surge was predicted to be 3.5 metres by the IMD.

A storm surge was normally caused by ocean waves, low pressure at the centre of the cyclone and tide, he added.

The wave height observed at 5 p.m.

on Saturday was

7.35 metres, while

the forecast was

7 metres

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