Cyclone Amphan is expected to reach Kolkata by Evening: IMD chief

The landfall process has triggered intense rain and gusty winds and will continue for about four hours, according to IMD.

Cyclone Amphan
Announcements being made at Digha in East Midnapore to alert people ahead of Cyclone Amphan. (HT Photo) (HT PHOTO.)

With severe cyclonic storm Amphan beginning landfall on Wednesday afternoon near Sunderbans in West Bengal, more than 5 lakh people have been evacuated from nearby coastal areas in the state and another 1,58,640 people have been removed to safer areas in neighbouring Odisha, NDRF Director General SN Pradhan said. The severe cyclonic storm is expected to reach Kolkata by this evening, according to IMD.

“Based on experiences during Cyclone Fani, all NDRF teams are equipped with tree cutters/pole cutters for post landfall restoration, if need arises. We have deployed at least 20 teams in Odisha and 19 teams in West Bengal and 2 in stand-by have been pre-positioned in consultation with state authorities. These NDRF teams will shortly begin restoration work. All teams have wireless and satellite communications,” Pradhan said at a news briefing.

“Keeping in mind the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic, all NDRF teams have been equipped with PPE kits. We are not dependent on any communication system. It is another form of new normal, we have to handle disasters considering the Covid-19 pandemic too,” the NDRF chief added.

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Cyclone Amphan’s landfall process has triggered intense rain and gusty winds in West Bengal and Odisha and will continue for about four hours, according to IMD.

“Cyclone Amphan has touched land. The eye of the cyclone is expected to touch land anytime now. Cyclone Amphan is expected to reach Kolkata by this evening,” IMD chief Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said.

“The forward sector of the wall cloud region has entered into land in West Bengal. The intensity of the cyclone near its centre as the landfall process began was recorded at 160-170 kmph, increasing to about 190 kmph,” according to IMD data.

In Odisha too, heavy rainfall and strong winds are lashing Chandipur in Balasore district and Jagatsinghpur. Heavy rainfall and strong winds have affected several districts as of noon in Gangetic West Bengal increasing in intensity with each passing hour after landfall.

At 3:05 pm, the wind speed at Kolkata airport was recorded at 76 km per hour, the meteorological office said.

Pradhan said all 20 teams present in Odisha have been deployed, leaving none in reserve, while in West Bengal 19 teams have been deployed, while two have been kept in reserve.

“The situation is fast-transforming. Our duty becomes even more now and after the cyclone. It is a long haul,” he said, adding that the NDRF is keeping a close watch on Cyclone Amphan.

Pradhan said deployment is more in districts which are facing more pressure due to intense weather triggered by the cyclonic storm.

Originally published at https://www.hindustantimes.com/ on May 20, 2020.