The India Meteorological Department on Monday said that cyclone Amphan, which has intensified into a “extremely severe cyclonic storm”, is likely to turn into a super cyclone. It is expected to make a landfall between West Bengal and Bangladesh on Wednesday.
“Extremely severe cyclonic storm ‘Amphan’ [pronounced as um-pun] over west-central and adjoining central parts of South BoB: cyclone warning for West Bengal and north Odisha coasts,” the weather department tweeted.
The storm is likely to “further intensify” as a super cyclone in the next 12 hours, IMD Director General Mrutyunjaya Mohapatra told ANI. Odisha and West Bengal are bracing for heavy rain under the influence of the cyclone.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair a high-level meeting with the home ministry and National Disaster Management Authority today at 4 pm to review the preparedness.
GK Das, regional director of Meteorological Centre in Kolkata, said the coastal districts of Gangetic West Bengal, including North and South 24 Parganas, Kolkata, East and West Midnapore, Howrah and Hooghly are likely to experience light to moderate rain at many places with heavy downpour at isolated places on Tuesday, PTI reported.
In Odisha, cyclone Amphan is likely to bring heavy rainfall in some parts of Gajapati, Ganjam, Puri, Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara districts, while moderate rainfall will lash other coastal areas from Monday onwards, Das added.
However, the cyclone is expected to have the maximum impact on Balasore and Bhadrak districts, which are marked as red zones in containing the coronavirus pandemic, and have reported 119 and 74 positive cases, respectively, The Hindu reported. The state government is concerned about evacuation as it will be a difficult task to maintain physical distancing while evacuating and sheltering the affected population.
“North Odisha coast will face max impact of Amphan, when it makes landfall,” Scientist Umashankar Das of IMD Bhubaneswar said. “Wind speed expected to be 110-120 kmph,gusting upto 130 kmph. Balasore, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Mayurbhanj districts can be affected on May 20.”
Odisha’s Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday set a target of zero casualty for his administration. The state government had also urged the Centre to temporarily suspend the special trains for migrants passing through areas that fall in the direction of the cyclone. Last year in May, major parts of the state were devastated by cyclone “Fani”.
Twelve district collectors in the coastal region have been asked to be on alert and closely monitor the situation. Fishermen in Odisha and West Bengal have been advised to not venture into the sea till Wednesday.