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Home / News / India /  Amphan barrels into Odisha, West Bengal, wreaks havoc

NEW DELHI : The very severe cyclonic storm Amphan hit the West Bengal coast with devastating force around 2:30 pm on Wednesday, wreaking havoc. The cyclone pounded the coast with winds of 155-165 kmph gusting up to 190kmph, accompanied by extremely heavy rain, uprooting trees, ripping away roofs, damaging cropland, tossing away boats, and inundating 15km inland, said the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

The landfall process lasted for 4-5 hours and by 7 pm the storm was over the land. By the time the cyclone hit Kolkata, Hooghly and Howrah, the wind speed fell to 110-120 kmph gusting up to 135kmph. Massive storm surges rising up to 4 metres above the astronomical tides overwhelmed coastal areas, as water rushed through rivulets, worsening the damage.

Regions that see the front and rear sectors of the cyclone pass over them witness the most devastation, according to scientists. In this case, it includes North and South 24 Pargana, and East Medinipur districts.

More than 500,000 people had already been evacuated from the coastal regions of West Bengal.

As many as 150,000 people were also evacuated from Odisha, mainly Bhadrak, Balasore, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Mayurbhanj, where the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) deployed over 20 teams. The relief and restoration operations have already begun in the coastal state, where the maximum wind speed was recorded to be 106kmph at Paradip.

“We have already started relief operations. More than 40 teams are on the ground in north Odisha and West Bengal," said NDRF director general S.N. Pradhan. The teams have also been equipped with personal protection equipment due to the covid-19 outbreak.

No adverse weather is expected over Odisha Thursday onwards, though parts of Gangetic West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam, and Meghalaya will continue to witness isolated heavy rain, according to IMD.

The storm is likely to maintain its intensity as a cyclonic storm as it moves north-northeastwards and enters Bangladesh on Thursday morning and then dissipates as a depression.

“The actual track of the cyclone was as expected by the IMD and it hit the eastern coast between Digha in West Bengal and Hatiya Islands in Bangladesh near the Sunderbans. The accurate prediction has given confidence to our disaster management authorities. We are also issuing forecasts for Bangladesh," said M. Mohapatra, director general of meteorology, IMD, who had earlier warned of the “devastating potential of the cyclone".

Scientists continuously tracked the cyclone through Doppler weather radars in Kolkata, Paradip, and Vishakapatnam and issued hourly updates. The system formed over Bay of Bengal on 16 May had quickly intensified into a super cyclonic storm in the morning of 18 May and had become one of the most intense cyclones in the Bay of Bengal since the Odisha supercyclone of 1999.

The track of Amphan, a name given by Thailand in 2004 means sky, and was similar to Cyclone Bulbul of 2019, but more intense.

“Ministry of Power has been monitoring #CycloneAmphan and has been coordinating with all stakeholders, i.e. state governments and their Power Utilities, Generators and Transmission Companies, Grid Operators and the manufacturers for supply of materials etc," power minister Raj Kumar Singh said in a tweet, adding that 24x7 control rooms have been set up at Bhubaneswar and Kolkata by PGCIL and NTPC.

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