Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon Chilika has seen something unprecedented this time.
The near Super Cyclone Fani has created at least four new mouths in the lake leaving the lagoon managers in a tizzy.
Besides, the strong tidal waves and wind have claimed the lives of Irrawaddy dolphins.
The Chilika Development Authority officials are busy making an assessment of the impact of the monstrous storm on the lake which is a critical coastal biodiversity hotspot.
Before May 3, Chilika had two functional mouths connecting the Bay of Bengal – one near Sanpatna and the other near Arakhakuda village, both 2.5 km apart.
Now, Fani has led to the creation of three more mouths in the same stretch and a fourth one beyond Arakhakuda.
The four new mouths opened due to the wave energy with high tidal prism and saline ingress.
With the creation of the four new connecting points, the six mouths will increase salinity level of Chilika which may help fish recruitment and catch.
However, experts feel more mouths are capable of altering the salinity level which can have both negative and positive effects.
The cyclone which brought in waves reaching a height of 7 ft and wind clocking 200 km at the automated weather station in Satapada is believed to have hit the endangered Irrawaddy dolphins ending in their deaths.
The exact number of casualties is being verified.
However, this is not the first time that such mouths have opened in the brackish water lagoon.
Chilika had three mouths way back in 1971 when a super cyclone struck the State.
After that, multiple active mouths have not been noticed.
The 1999 Super Cyclone, though, was an exception when no new natural mouth was created.