Cyclone Amphan likely to turn into very severe storm, says home ministry

The Odisha government has placed 12 coastal districts on alert in view of cyclone Amphan. Image: IMD

The cyclonic storm Amphan, which is currently moving over Southeast Bay of Bengal, is likely to turn into a very severe storm and make a landfall on West Bengal coast on May 20, the home ministry said on Sunday (May 17).

“The cyclonic storm Amphan (pronounced as UM-PUN) is moving over Southeast Bay of Bengal and neighbourhood and has been turning north-northwestwards with a speed of 6 kmph over past six hours,” it said.

It has intensified slightly and lay centred over the same region at 0530 hrs IST on Sunday, a home ministry official said, quoting an India Meteorological Department bulletin.

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The storm is currently spotted near latitude 11.4°N and longitude 86.0°E, about 990 km south of Paradip (Odisha), 1,140 km South-Southwest of Digha (West Bengal) and 1,260 km South-Southwest of Khepupara (Bangladesh).

It is very likely to intensify further into a severe cyclonic storm during next six hours and turn into a very severe cyclonic storm during subsequent 12 hours, the ministry official said.

It is very likely to move nearly northwards by Monday and then re-curve north-northeastwards across Northwest Bay of Bengal and cross West Bengal-Bangladesh coasts between Sagar Islands (West Bengal) and Hatiya Islands (Bangladesh) during the afternoon or evening of May 20 as a very severe cyclonic storm, the official said.

Related news | Odisha braces for cyclonic storm Amphan amid COVID-19 outbreak

The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) on Saturday (May 16) reviewed the preparedness for the impending cyclone and directed immediate assistance to West Bengal and Odisha.

A meeting of the NCMC, headed by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, was held to take stock of the preparations for the cyclone.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday put a target of zero casualty before administration, which is in the midst of a battle against COVID-19.

Considering the gravity of the cyclonic storm, the state government during the day urged the Centre to temporarily suspend Shramik Special trains passing through areas falling in the direction of the cyclone.

Since the sea condition will be rough to very rough over south and adjoining central Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea, it warned fishermen not to venture into the sea along and off the Odisha coast from May 18 onwards.

Similarly, fishermen in West Bengal have also been advised not to venture into north Bay of Bengal along and off West Bengal-Odisha coasts from May 18 to 21, and those who are out in the sea were asked to return to the coasts by May 17.

The cabinet secretary reviewed the current situation and preparedness for rescue and relief operations and directed that immediate assistance, as required, be provided, an official statement had said.

Heavy to extremely heavy rainfall, accompanied by high speed winds and tidal waves are expected in the region.

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