A severe cyclonic storm Amphan makes a landfall in West Bengal with Kolkata and its nearby areas witnessing high-speed winds exceeding 100 kmph accompanied by heavy rains. The cyclone is said to be one of the worst to form over the Bay of Bengal in many years.
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Director General Mrityunjay Mohapatra said the eye of the cyclone, which is 30 km in diameter, has touched the land.
Sanjib Bandyopadhyay, Alipore Met Dept, (Eastern region), said the circular structure of the cyclone started making landfall in Bengal this afternoon.
He said: “The process started around 2.30 p.m. with the forward sector boundary of the cyclonic circle making the landfall in the coastal districts of Bengal. As per our records at 4 p.m. the windspeed was 105 km/hr in Kolkata which can go upto 130 km.”
He said three coastal districts — South and North 24 Parganas and East Midnapore — will be the worst affected, besides, vast swathes of South Bengal districts such as Kolkata, Howrah, Hooghly, West Midnapore will bear the brunt of the heavy storm.
Areas such as Sagar Island, Kakdwip and Diamond Harbour in South 24 Parganas and Digha and Haldia in East Midnapore were battered by the storm, uprooting trees and electric poles and destroying many shacks.
Firhad Hakim, Administrator of the state’s largest civic body, Kolkata Municipl Corporation, said, “We are keeping a close watch on the situation. The storm has caused some trees getting uproted and power failure in various parts of the city. We have shifted a number of people from old dilapidated buildings in Kolkata to temporary rescue centres. Some of them have, however, refused to get relocated. Our officials are monitoring the situation on an hourly basis”.
“I am at the TMC control room and supervising the overall situation in Kolkata. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is reviewing the situation from the Nabanna control room. She will be there at the state secretariat for the whole night. A task force spearheaded by the State Chief Secretary Rajib Sinha is looking after the relief and rescue operations. The police are on high alert.”
All flyovers and elevated corridors were closed to vehicular traffic in Kolkata in view of the approaching cyclonic storm, expected to make a landfall somewhere between East Midnapore’s Digha and Hatiya Island in Bangladesh on Wednesday. The landfall is expected between afternoon and evening.
Police sources said all flyovers have been barricaded and movement of vehicles suspended at various flyovers in the state capital.
Meanwhile, as many as five lakh people in West Bengal and 1.5 lakh in Odisha have been evacuated as per the data submitted by the state governments, the National Disaster Response Force said on Wednesday.
Parts of coastal Andhra Pradesh received rains accompanied by strong winds while the sea was rough with storm surge under the impact of super cyclone ‘Amphan’ which made landfall in West Bengal.
Rains lashed parts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam districts while huge tidal waves lashed the coastline at few places in the coastal belt.
However, no loss of life or property damage was reported from any part of the region, officials said.
According to the Visakhapatnam Cyclone Centre, strong surface winds with speed reaching 45-50 kmph were blowing along and off north coastal Andhra Pradesh.
It said sea condition was very rough along and off north coastal Andhra Pradesh. It said sea condition was phenomenal over north Bay of Bengal and adjoining west-central Bay of Bengal.
The sea was rough in the port city of Visakhapatnam. The sea water advanced onto land to several meters along the famous RK Beach road. The authorities had closed the road for vehicular traffic as a precautionary measure.
Fishermen were advised not to venture into the sea along and off north coastal Andhra Pradesh. They were also advised not to venture into north Bay of Bengal and adjoining west-central Bay of Bengal, along and off Odisha, West Bengal and adjoining Bangladesh coasts during next 24 hours.
Distant warning signal number two was kept hoisted at Visakhapatnam, Machilipatnam, Nizampatnam and Krishnapatnam ports. Distant warning signal number two with section signal number was kept hoisted at Kakinada and Gangavaram ports, said the Cyclone Warning Centre.
Earlier, huge waves lashed the coast of Mangamaripeta village in Visakhapatnam district. Tourism Minister Avanti Srinivas visited the village and warned fishermen not to venture in the sea. He advised the people of the village to be alert and stay safe at the time of the cyclone making its landfall.
Roads and Buildings Minister Dharmana Krishna Das held a review meeting with district officials in Srikakulam. State Disaster Relief Force (SDRF) personnel and the police were deployed as a precautionary measure.
Officials were asked to coordinate with the authorities of neighbouring Odisha over the flooding of rivers and also take necessary precautions to prevent damage to the electrical lines. (IANS)