With cyclone ‘Bulbul’ likely to intensify into a “very severe cyclonic storm” in the next six hours, the Met Department on Thursday evening issued an alert for West Bengal, saying that several parts of the state may receive very heavy rainfall on Saturday.
On Thursday, ‘Bulbul’ was located around 930 km south-southeast of Kolkata, according to the Met Department.
“It (Bulbul) is very likely to move initially north-northwestwards for the next 12 hours and then nearly northwards till November 9 (Saturday) morning, and then re-curve northeastwards towards Bangladesh and adjoining West Bengal,” a press note of India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
IMD Director General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said the cyclonic system was being monitored to ascertain the direction of the storm and the possible location of its landfall.
According to the IMD, heavy to very heavy rainfall is likely to occur at one or two places over North and South 24 Parganas on Saturday. “Heavy to very heavy rainfall (7-20 cm) is predicted over the districts of East and West Midnapore, Howrah and Hooghly as well. Heavy rainfall (7-11 cm) at one or two places is very likely to take place over Kolkata and Nadia. On Sunday, districts of North and South 24 Paraganas, East Midnapore, Nadia, Howrah and Hooghly will receive heavy rainfall,” said an IMD official.
The maximum sustained wind speed within and around the area of cyclone ‘Bulbul’ had been recorded 70 to 80 km per hour, with gusts up to 90 kmph.
“It is very likely to increase gradually and become 100-110 kmph, gusting to 115 kmph by November 8 morning. It will increase further to 120-130 kmph, gusting to 145 kmph over north Bay of Bengal from the night of November 8 for subsequent 12 hours,” said an official at Alipore Met office.
Fishing operations have been suspended from Friday onwards over Odisha-West Bengal coasts. Fishermen have been advised not to venture out into the Bay of Bengal till November 12. They have also been advised not to venture into Sundarban delta till Sunday.
“Those who are in the deep sea have been advised to return to the coast by Thursday evening. All sea-bound water activity for tourists will remain suspended on November 9 and 10 at Digha, Mandarmani, Talsari, Shankarpur, Bakkhali, Sagar Island,” a state government official said.
District administrations will be warning fishermen from entering the sea from Friday using the loudspeaker to ensure total suspension of fishing operations Saturday. As per the alert, people in likely affected areas have been asked to remain indoors and avoid movement through motor boats. Movement of people in the beaches will also be restricted,” the official added.