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New Delhi, May 17, 2020
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) today issued a cyclone alert for West Bengal and north Odisha coasts with the very severe cyclonic storm "Amphan" over Bay of Bengal expected to cross the West Bengal-Bangladesh coasts during the afternoon or evening of May 20.
A bulletin issued by the IMD at 2315 hours today said Amphan (pronounced as Um-Pun) had moved north-northeastwards with a speed of 10 kmph during the past six hours and lay centred at 2030 hrs IST of today over central parts of South Bay of Bengal and adjoining central Bay of Bengal near latitude 12.2°N and longitude 86.2°E, about 900 km south of Paradip (Odisha), 1060 km south-southwest of Digha (West Bengal) and 1170 km southsouthwest of Khepupara (Bangladesh).
"It is very likely to intensify further into an Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm during next 24 hours. It is very likely to move nearly northwards slowly during next 12 hours and then re-curve north-northeastwards and move fast across northwest Bay of Bengal and cross West Bengal – Bangladesh coasts between Digha (West Bengal) and Hatiya Islands (Bangladesh) during the Afternoon / Evening of 20th May 2020 as a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm," the bulletin said.
According to it, coastal Odisha is likely to experience light to moderate rainfall at many places from 18th May evening with heavy falls at isolated places over coastal Odisha (Gajapati, Ganjam, Puri, Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara districts) on 18th May.
There will be rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places over north coastal Odisha (Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Jajpur, Bhadrak, Balasore and Mayurbhanj districts) on 19th May and isolated heavy rainfall over north Odisha (Bhadrak, Balasore, Mayurbhanj, Jajpur, Kendrapara and Keonjhar districts) on 20th May.
Coastal districts of Gangetic West Bengal (East Medinipur, South & North 24 Parganas) are likely to experience light to moderate rainfall at many places with heavy falls at isolated places on 19th May. There is likely to be rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places and extremely heavy falls at isolated places likely over Gangetic West Bengal (East & West Medinipur, South & North 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hoogli, Kolkata and adjoining districts) on 20th May.
The bulletin said squally wind speed reaching 45 to 55 kmph gusting to 65 kmph is likely to commence along and off south Odisha coast from 18th evening, extend to along and off north Odisha coast from 19th morning and along and off West Bengal coast from 19th afternoon.
The wind speed will gradually increase becoming gale wind speed reaching 75 to 85 kmph gusting to 95 kmph from 20th morning along and off north Odisha (Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak, Balasore and Mayurbhanj districts) and West Bengal (East & West Medinipur, South & North 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hoogli, Kolkata Districts). It will gradually increase thereafter becoming 110 to 120 kmph gusting to 135 kmph along and off the above mentioned districts of North Odisha and 120 to 140 kmph gusting to 155 kmph along and off the above districts of West Bengal from the afternoon of 20th May.
Squally wind speed reaching 55-65 kmph gusting to 75 kmph is likely to prevail over Puri, Khordha, Cuttack and Jajpur districts of Odisha during 20th May.
According to the bulletin, gale wind speed reaching 125-135 gusting to 150 kmph is prevailing over southeast and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal. It is likely to increase becoming 140-150 gusting to 165 kmph over southern parts of central Bay of Bengal by 18th morning, 170-180 gusting to 200 kmph over northern parts of central Bay of Bengal and adjoining North Bay of Bengal on 19th May, and 155-165 gusting to 180 kmph over north Bay of Bengal during 20th May.
The bulletin said the sea condition will be phenomenal over central parts of south Bay of Bengal and adjoining central Bay of Bengal during the next 24 hours. It will become phenomenal over southern parts of central Bay of Bengal from tonight, over northern parts of central Bay of Bengal and adjoining north Bay of Bengal on 19th May and over north Bay of Bengal on 20th May.
Fishermen have been advised not to venture into south Bay of Bengal during the next 24 hours, to central Bay of Bengal during 17th to 18th May and into North Bay of Bengal during 18th to 20th May.
Also, fishermen are advised not to venture into north Bay of Bengal along and off North Odisha, West Bengal and adjoining Bangladesh coasts during 18th to 20th May.
The bulletin said storm surge of about 3-4 meters above astronomical tide is likely to inundate low lying areas of South & North 24 Parganas and 2-3 meters over the low lying areas of East Medinipur district of West Bengal around the time of landfall.
The IMD said extensive damage was expected to all types of "kutcha" houses and some damage to old, badly managed "pucca" structures in East Medinipur, South and North 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hoogli and Kolkata districts. There is potential threat from flying objects, it said.
It also warned of the possibility of extensive uprooting of communication and power poles, disruption of rail/road links at several places, extensive damage to standing crops, plantations and orchards, blowing down of palm and coconut trees and uprooting of large bushy trees. Large boats and ships may get torn from their moorings.
The bulletin called for total suspension of fishing operations during 18th to 20th May and diversion or suspension of rail and road traffic.
People in the affected areas must remain indoors. Authorities should mobilise evacuation of people from low-lying areas.
The bulletin also warned of the possibility of similar damage, though on a lesser scale, in Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak, Balasore, Jajpur and Mayurbhanj districts of Odisha.