Cyclone Amphan is likely to hit Bengal this afternoon.

Highlights

  • Amphan weakened to an “extremely severe cyclonic storm” on Tuesday
  • More than three lakh people have been evacuated in Bengal
  • Officials anticipate massive destruction when the cyclone strikes

New Delhi: Cyclone Amphan, one of the worst storms over the Bay of Bengal in years, is likely to hit Bengal this evening. Amphan weakened from a super cyclone to an “extremely severe cyclonic storm” on Tuesday, causing strong winds and heavy rain in parts of Odisha and Bengal as it advanced towards the Indian coast. More than four lakh people have been evacuated to safety in the both the states. Officials anticipate massive destruction when the cyclone strikes; Amphan is expected to pack winds gusting up to 185 kilometres per hour when it crosses West Bengal’s Digha and Hatiya island of Bangladesh where around 20 million have been moved to over 12,000 shelters. Amphan is only the second “super cyclone” to form in the northeastern Indian Ocean since records began. Indian Navy is on “high alert” on the east coast for relief efforts, an official statement said.

Here are the top ten developments on Cyclone Amphan:

  1. In Kolkata, the airport has been shut till 5 am tomorrow after the city, close to the coast, was put on alert. Early morning visuals showed winds and heavy rain in Paradip in Odisha and South 24 Paraganas in Bengal. Seven districts of Bengal are likely to face the direct impact of the cyclone. Early morning visuals showed winds and heavy rain in Paradip in Odisha and South 24 Paraganas in Bengal. 

  2. The storm is not expected to hit Odisha, senior official PK Jena said this morning, adding that the landfall is expected this evening in Sundarbans in Bengal. “As the cyclone moves, next six-eight hours are very important. We have evacuated about 1.37 people so far,” he said. Coastal districts like Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Balasore are likely to be battered by heavy rain coupled with high-speed winds.

  3. Describing the vulnerable areas as “red plus zones”, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has  said she would stay overnight in the control room tonight.

  4. Those living near the coast have been warned against stepping out; fishermen have been warned to stay off coast. Mamata Banerjee said they should stay in from Wednesday morning until an all-clear was sounded on Thursday. “The tail-end of a cyclone can do worst damage, so people should not come out of their homes until they get an all-clear,” she said, recalling that when Cyclone Fani hit last year, more died when the cyclone was leaving.

  5. On Tuesday, Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to Chief Ministers of Bengal and Odisha – Mamata Banerjee and Naveen Patnaik – on phone, assuring them all help from the central government.~CHECK~

  6. Cyclone Amphan along with the coronavirus fight pose a double challenge for the country, National Disaster Response Force chief SN Pradhan said on Tuesday. “We have told Bengal and Odisha, social distancing has to be maintained strictly in cyclone shelters. If a shelter has space for 1,000, then only 500 should be allowed,” NDRF chief SN Pradhan told NDTV.

  7. Forty teams of the NDRF have been deployed in West Bengal and Odisha to deal with any emergency situation. “A second disaster coming amid COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Pradhan said on Tuesday and it needs continuous monitoring.

  8. In a statement, the Indian Meteorological Department has warned of flying objects, uprooting of electricity poles and boats getting torn away. The department says a storm surge of a height of about four-six metres above the astronomical tide will inundate the low-lying coastal areas in Bengal. The department says a storm surge of a height of about four-six metres above the astronomical tide will inundate the low-lying coastal areas in Bengal.

  9. On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had chaired a high-level meeting to review the response measures and preparedness to tackle the storm. “Reviewed the preparedness regarding the situation due to cyclone ‘Amphan.’ The response measures as well as evacuation plans were discussed. I pray for everyone’s safety and assure all possible support from the Central Government,” PM Modi tweeted after the meeting.

  10. “Amphan”, pronounced as “Um-pun”, means sky. The name was given by Thailand in 2004, years ago. The storm is being constantly tracked by Doppler Weather Radar at Vishakhapatnam. 

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