IMD has its own colour coding system for warning and information regarding cyclones. The colour codes are used by the department to signify the intensity of the situation and the warning associated with it.
These warnings are mainly a part of the preparedness program for handling a natural disaster like a cyclone. The main objective of the colour codes is to alert people of hazardous weather conditions which have the potential to damage properties and lives.
The IMD’s four colour codes are:
Green: This code means that “all is well” and there is no likelihood of any adverse weather-related and there are no advisories issued.
Yellow: The colour yellow signals authorities to “be aware” or on their guard, with the likelihood of severely bad weather that could last several days at a stretch, while also suggesting that the weather could take a turn for the worse and upset daily activities.
Orange: Meaning “Be prepared”, the IMD issues the orange alert as a warning for extremely bad weather, electricity blackouts and the possibility of communication disruptions, including road and rail closures.
Red: The IMD issues the highest level of warning—indicating authorities should “take action”—only when it is guaranteed that bad weather is going to upend travel and power and pose a significant risk to life.
These alerts are universal and are not used exclusively for cyclones but for a range of natural calamities including floods, heavy rainfall, snowstorms and other dangerous weather events.
IMD four Stage warning during Cyclones:
1. The First Stage (“PRE-CYCLONE WATCH”): issued 72 hours in advance, contains an early warning about the development of a cyclonic disturbance.
2. The Second Stage (“CYCLONE ALERT”): issued at least 48 hours in advance, information about the commencement of adverse weather over the coastal areas.
3. The Third Stage (“CYCLONE WARNING”): issued at least 24 hours in advance. The landfall point is forecast at this stage.
4. The Fourth Stage (“POST LANDFALL OUTLOOK”): issued at least 12 hours in advance of the expected time of landfall.