The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Tuesday issued a fresh cyclone alert for West Bengal and north Odisha coasts as an extremely severe cyclonic storm ‘Amphan’ was over the central parts of the South Bay of Bengal and adjoining the central Bay of Bengal.
In a statement, the IMD said the super cyclonic storm Amphan (pronounced as UM-PUN) over Westcentral and adjoining Eastcentral Bay of Bengal moved nearly north-northeastwards with a speed of 14 kmph during the past six hours.
“It lay centred at 0530 hrs IST of 19th May 2020 near latitude 15.6°N and longitude 86.7°E over Westcentral Bay of Bengal about 520 km nearly south of Paradip (Odisha), 670 km south-southwest of Digha (West Bengal) and 800 km south-southwest of Khepupara (Bangladesh).
“It is very likely to weaken into an Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm during the next six hours. And, is very likely to move north-northeastwards across the northwest Bay of Bengal and cross West Bengal – Bangladesh coasts between Digha (West Bengal) and Hatiya Islands (Bangladesh) close to Sundarbans during the Afternoon / Evening of 20th May 2020 as a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm with maximum sustained wind speed of 155-165 kmph gusting to 180 kmph,” said the IMD statement.
The super cyclone Amphan is now being continuously tracked by the Doppler Weather Radar (DWR) at Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh).
Addressing a press on Monday, IMD chief Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said that Amphan was expected to make the biggest impact in South and North 24 Parganas and East Medinipur districts of West Bengal.
Keeping in view the conditions, the IMD has advised a complete shutdown of shipping and boating activities in the vulnerable parts of West Bengal and Odisha till May 20. Rerouting or shutting down of rail and road traffic is also advised in the areas which the super cyclone is expected to hit.
To provide instant help in West Bengal, a total of 19 teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are deployed, and four teams are on standby. In Odisha, 13 teams are deployed and 17 are on standby. While some NDRF teams are in the area, some are in transit.
The weather agency has issued an orange alert for coastal West Bengal and Odisha, where it said widespread damage is expected.