Cyclone Yaas, which formed over east-central Bay of Bengal on Saturday, is likely to intensify into a “very severe cyclonic storm” by May 25, the India Meteorological Department said. The cyclone will move north-northwestwards and reach West Bengal, north Odisha and Bangladesh coasts around May 26 morning and cross the area by evening, the weather forecasting agency said.
GK Das, the director of the Regional Meteorological Centre in Kolkata, said the wind speed is expected to reach 90-100 km per hour gusting to 110 kmph from May 26, reported the Hindustan Times. “As of now it is unlikely to match the intensity of Amphan,” said Das.
Amphan was a cyclonic storm that hit West Bengal in May last year and led to the deaths of at least 86 people. The cyclone, the strongest on record in the Bay of Bengal, knocked down huge trees, snapped power lines and upturned cars. The winds blew apart some buildings, while ropes of rain sent thousands of poor villagers rushing to evacuation shelters.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi held on Sunday held a meeting with various central ministries and agencies to review the preparedness of the states.
In the meeting, the National Disaster Response Force informed it has pre-positioned 46 teams with boats, tree-cutters, telecom equipment and other necessary arrangements in five states and Union Territories, the prime minister’s office said, in a release. In addition, 13 teams are being airlifted today for deployment, while 10 teams have been kept on standby. The Indian Coast Guard and the Navy have also deployed ships and helicopters for relief, search and rescue operations.
On Saturday, the weather agency said that light and moderate rainfall is expected in most areas of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and heavy to very heavy rains in isolated regions on Saturday and Sunday.
Gangetic West Bengal and north Odisha are likely to get light to moderate rainfall in most places with heavy falls at isolated places on May 25 and May 26. The rainfall is likely to intensify in Bengal, the IMD said.
In view of the cyclone that was named by Oman, the agency has advised fishermen not to venture into southeast and east central Bay of Bengal, Andaman Sea and along and off Andaman and Nicobar Islands between May 22 and 24. It has further advised fishermen to avoid central Bay of Bengal from Sunday till May 25 and north Bay of Bengal off West Bengal, Odisha and Bangladesh coasts from May 24 to May 26.
An IMD spokesperson said that four naval ships are on standby, aircraft have been kept ready at naval air stations INS Dega in Visakhapatnam and INS Rajali near Chennai to conduct aerial surveys, evacuate citizens and airdrop relief material if needed.
“Eight flood relief teams and four diving teams are prepositioned at Odisha and West Bengal to augment the existing resources,” the official added.
Cyclone Yaas comes days after another cyclone, Tauktae, wreaked havoc in multiple states, including Maharashtra and Gujarat, leading to around 57 deaths in the two states.