A slow-moving monsoon depression that has already unleashed lethal amounts of rain in South Asia formed into a tropical cyclone over the northern Bay of Bengal Wednesday. The cyclonic storm, now named Komen, threatens to further drench regions that are already reeling from flooding and mudslides. Gusty winds and rough seas are adding to the dangers, which in all have claimed at least 33 lives in two countries.
For about a week, heavy rainfall has been pounding southern parts of Bangladesh and parts of neighboring Myanmar thanks to a weak area of low pressure – designated a "depression" by meteorologists in that region – that formed over Bangladesh in association with the seasonal monsoon.
Even for a region where average July rainfall exceeds 600 millimeters (2 feet), the rains have been exceptional. The coastal city of Chittagong reported more than 800 millimeters (32 inches) of rain in just a three-day period July 24 through 26.
Much of southeastern Bangladesh has seen repeated heavy rainfall on daily basis over the past week. The results have been deadly. Five people died in a landslide in Cox's Bazar Monday according to the Bangladesh-based Daily Star. Four others were pulled from the mud alive. Two other people drowned in flooding elsewhere in the town of 52,000 residents, the report said. Cox's Bazar has reported more than 1,000 millimeters (40 inches) of rain since July 24, exceeding its already high monthly average rainfall of 924.6 millimeters (36.40 inches) according to Bangladesh Meteorological Department climate data.