Operations in Kolkata airport suspended, over 1.2 lakh evacuated as Bengal braces for Cyclone Bulbul landfall; heavy rain, flooding expected in coastal districts

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Operations in Kolkata airport have been suspended till 6 am Sunday while the West Bengal government said that over 1.2 lakh have been evacuated from coastal areas as the state braces for the severe cyclonic storm Bulbul to make landfall today evening.

As per IMD’s 3.30 pm update, the severe cyclone ‘Bulbul’ lay about 90 kilometres south-southeast of Digha, 85 kilometres south of Sagar Islands and 185 kilometres Southeast of Kolkata at 3.20 pm.

The cyclone is likely to weaken gradually and move northeastwards and cross West Bengal-Bangladesh coasts, the IMD said, adding that the storm will likely make landfall between Sagar Island (West Bengal) and Khepupara (Bangladesh) across Sunderban delta by Saturday late evening (likely between 8 pm to 11 pm).

The severe cyclonic storm is expected to maintain maximum sustained wind speed of 110 to 120 kilometres per hour gusting to 135 kilometres per hour, the IMD said.

 Operations in Kolkata airport suspended, over 1.2 lakh evacuated as Bengal braces for Cyclone Bulbul landfall; heavy rain, flooding expected in coastal districts

Very severe cyclonic storm ‘Bulbul’ s likely to make landfall between West Bengal-Bangladesh coasts by 8 pm to 11 pm on 9 November. PTI

Heavy rainfall, flooding expected during landfall

The weatherman also said the severity of ‘Bulbul’ will cause damage to kucha houses, roads, communication and power lines along its path in the coastal and adjoining districts of West Bengal.

According to IMD, light to moderate rainfall at most places is very likely over coastal districts of West Bengal with heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places and extremely heavy rain at isolated places over North and South 24 Parganas, East Medinipur.

Isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall is also expected over areas like West Medinipur, Howrah and Hooghly.

The department also warned of storm surge causing flooding in South and North 24 Parganas and low lying areas of east Medinipur during the time of landfall. It said that storm surge of about 1 to 2 metres height above astronomical tide is very likely to inundate low lying areas of south and North 24 Parganas and 0.5 to 1 metre height above astronomical tide is very likely to inundate low lying areas of East Medinipur.

According to the disaster management division of the National Emergency Response Centre (NERC), restrictions on fishing boats’ movement have been imposed till 12 November and all boats have been advised to return to the coast. Tourist have also been barred from the sea coast in coastal districts of West Bengal.

The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), the country’s apex body to handle any emergency, on Saturday reviewed the preparedness to deal with the very severe cyclone ‘Bulbul’ over the Bay of Bengal which is likely to affect coastal districts of West Bengal and Odisha.

The meeting of the NCMC, headed by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, was informed by the IMD that the cyclone has now intensified and is likely to cross the West Bengal coast by Saturday evening.

The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) is on alert as well.

Over 1.2 lakh people have been evacuated from coastal areas, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee said. PTI

Over 1.2 lakh people have been evacuated from coastal areas, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee said. PTI

Operations at Kolkata airport suspended till 6 am Sunday

Meanwhile, home ministry officials said operations at the Kolkata airport, the busiest in eastern India, has been suspended for 12 hours beginning 6 pm on Saturday due to severe cyclone ‘Bulbul’.

“Due to very severe cyclone ‘Bulbul’, operations at Kolkata airport is being suspended from 18.00 hours on 9 November up to 06.00 hours on 10 November,” a home ministry official said.

Mamata Banerjee monitoring situation

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee Saturday said she is monitoring the situation and the administration has taken all measures to tackle any contingency in view of Cyclone Bulbul.

She appealed to citizens to maintain calm and not to panic.

“Cyclone Bulbul is about to pass through Bengal. Our state administration is closely monitoring the situation 24×7. We are taking all measures to tackle any contingency. Special Control Rooms have been set up and NDRF-SDRF teams are deployed,” Banerjee said in a tweet.

Schools, colleges and Anganwadi centres have been closed, while 1.2 people have been evacuated, she said, according to PTI.

“Please do not panic. Kindly remain calm and cooperate with the administration in its rescue and relief efforts. Be alert, take care and stay safe,” she said.

Odisha witnesses heavy rainfall, uprooting of trees

Odisha witnessed heavy rainfall and high wind in six blocks in Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapada and Bhadrak districts on Saturday. High winds uprooted trees in coastal blocks of the three districts as well while also damaging houses in some areas. According to the NREC, about 2,500 have been evacuated in four districts Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapada, Bhadrak and Balasore and placed in 26 shelters.

The NREC said that NDRF, ODRAF and Fire Service teams are already engaged in cutting fallen trees and clearing roads. Roads have already been cleared in Jagatsinghpur district and part of Kendrapada district, it added.

According to the NREC, 43 boats from West Bangal with 381 crew members reached Dhamara/Talachua. The boats have been safely docked/harboured and the crew and other therein have been provided with required shelter and food, it said.

While one boat docked at a place close to Dhamara capsized in the shore, the nine people in the boat are safe.

Electricity supply has been affected in Bijayachandrapur near Paradip due to damage to poles and feeders.

With inputs from PTI





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