As super cyclone ‘Amphan’ barrels towards the Indian shores in West Bengal and Odisha, lakhs of people have been evacuated from vulnerable areas and shifted to safety. Amphan—the second super cyclone to have had formed over the Bay of Bengal in two decades—is expected to make a landfall between Digha, some 180 km south of Kolkata in West Bengal and Hatiya islands in Bangladesh during the afternoon to evening hours of Wednesday, May 20, with the maximum sustained wind speed of 155-165 kmph gusting to 185 kmph.
As per the latest update issued by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), it has weakened into ‘extremely severe’ cyclonic storm and lay centred over northwest and adjoining west-central Bay of Bengal, about 250 km south of Paradip in Odisha and 390 km south-southwest of Digha in West Bengal and 540 km south-southwest of Khepupara in Bangladesh.
As per the IMD, heavy to very heavy rainfall at isolated places is expected over north coastal Odisha (Balasore, Bhadrak, Mayurbhanj, Jajpur, Kendrapara, and Keonjhargarh districts) on May 20. Coastal districts of Gangetic West Bengal (East Medinipur, South and North 24 Parganas) are likely to experience light to moderate rainfall at many places commencing from May 19th evening. Rainfall intensity is likely to increase gradually and become maximum on May 20
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 and west Medinipur, south and north 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hoogli, Kolkata and adjoining districts) on May 20 and isolated heavy rain over interior districts on May 21.
In Bengal districts such as East Medinipur, South and North 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hoogli, Kolkata, extensive damage is expected to all types of kutcha houses and some damage to old badly managed pucca structure. Also, there is a potential threat from flying objects. Extensive uprooting of communication and power poles is also likely along with disruption of rail/road at several places. Aside from these, extensive damage to standing crops, plantations, orchards and blowing down of palm and coconut trees, uprooting of large bushy trees are expected.
In Odisha districts of Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak, Balasore, Jajpur, and Mayurbhanj, total destruction of thatched houses and extensive damage to the kutcha house is expected. While major damage to kutcha and pucca roads are likely, minor disruption of railways, overhead power lines, and signaling systems are expected. Additionally, widespread damage to standing crops, plantations, orchards, falling of green coconuts, and tearing of palm fronds and blowing down of bushy trees like mango are expected.
Post landfall, the system is very likely to continue to move north-northeastwards, across Gangetic West Bengal and Bangladesh and weaken gradually. It is very likely to maintain the intensity of cyclonic storm till the morning of May 21 and thereafter will weaken into a deep depression over Bangladesh.
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