The Meteorological department on Sunday said Cyclone Amphan had intensified into a severe cyclonic storm over the Bay of Bengal, and was likely to cross the coasts of West Bengal and Bangladesh on May 20.
It is likely to bring heavy rainfall, coupled with strong wind, in coastal Odisha and West Bengal from the day before. In Bengal, the rain is expected to lash the districts of North and South 24 Parganas, Kolkata, Purba and Paschim Medinipur, Howrah, and Hooghly.
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According to a bulletin issued by the weather office at 2 pm, Amphan had moved slowly northwestwards with a speed of 3 kmph and intensified into a severe cyclonic storm. It lay centred about 980 km south of Paradip in Odisha, 1,130 km south-southwest of Digha in West Bengal, and 1,250 km south-southwest of Khepupara in Bangladesh.
“Cyclone Amphan is likely to cross between Sagar Islands in West Bengal and Hatiya islands in Bangladesh between afternoon and evening of May 20 as a very severe cyclonic storm. It will bring heavy to very heavy rainfall in coastal Odisha and West Bengal from May 19 onwards. Sea condition will be very high to phenomenal over north Bay of Bengal on May 19 and 20,” said regional Met Director GK Das.
Wind speed along the coastal areas of West Bengal will reach 45 to 55 kmph, with gusts of 65 kmph from May 19 afternoon. It will gradually increase to 75 kmph to 85 kmph with gusts up to 90 kmph from the morning of May 20.
Home Secretary Alapan Bandopdhyay said the entire state machinery was prepared to deal with the situation. Disaster management teams are being sent to cyclone shelters in coastal areas, and other places likely to be affected. The home secretary said National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams were also available for rescue and relief operations.
Meanwhile, fishermen have been advised not to venture into the sea from May 18 to 21, and those already in the sea have been asked to return by May 17. The Indian Coast Guard has also prepared itself for maritime search and rescue operations.