Severe cyclonic storm 'Bulbul' made landfall Saturday midnight between Sagar Islands of West Bengal and Khepupara in Bangladesh, hurtling northwestwards into the neighbouring country over the Sunderban delta, with two deaths reported in its wake.
The latest update from IMD states that the current intensity of cyclone Bulbul is 1050-115kmph and landfall process continues and the eye of the storm lies over South 24 Parganas islandsclose to the east of Sundarban Dhanchi forest.
One death each has been reported from Bengal and Odisha due to heavy rain triggered by the very severe cyclonic storm Bulbul.
The system, which made landfall as a severe cyclonic storm with a maximum sustained speed of 110 to 120 kilometres per hour with gusts up to 135 kmph, is set to weaken gradually as it moves into Bangladesh through the Sunderban delta, Regional MeT director G K Das said in Kolkata.
Gale wind with speed of 110 to 120 kmph with gusts up to 135 kmph prevailed along and off the coastal and adjoining districts of West and East Midnapore, South and North 24 Parganas as the eye of the storm made landfall around midnight
The cyclone, packing winds of up to 120 kilometres (75 miles) per hour, has "weakened" and "started crossing" India's West Bengal and Bangladesh's Khulna coast at about 9:00 pm (1500 GMT), Dhaka's Meteorological Department said in a special bulletin.
"Due to very severe cyclone 'Bulbul', operations at Kolkata airport is being suspend from 1800 hours on November 9 up to 0600 hours on November 10," a home ministry official said in the national capital.
Most airlines like IndiGo ,SpiceJet,GoAir, Vistara and Air India cancelled their flights to Kolkata.
In Odisha, around 4,000 people have so far been evacuated from vulnerable and low-lying areas in some coastal regions of the state and shifted to 47 cyclone shelters, officials said. Personnel of the Indian Coast Guard are in all readiness to tackle any eventuality in the wake of cyclonic storm 'Bulbul'.
Ships have been moved to safer locations at Paradip, Dhamra and Sagar Island coasts, Inspector General of Coast Guard, Rajan Bargotra, told PTI.
Fishermen have been advised not to venture into the rough seas in Odisha and West Bengal coastal regions in view of the cyclonic storm, said Bargotra, who is the Commander Coast Guard Region (North East).
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, who monitored the preventive measures from the special control room set up at the secretariat Nabanna, said "more than 1 lakh 20 thousand people have already been rescued from the vulnerable coastal areas".
She asked people not to panic.
"Please do not panic. Kindly remain calm and co-operate with the administration in its rescue and relief efforts. Be alert, take care and stay safe," Banerjee tweeted.
As a safety measure, the state government on Saturday declared closed schools, colleges and anganwadi centres.
"Our State Administration is closely monitoring the situation 24x7. We are taking all measures to tackle any contingency. Special Control Rooms have been set up and NDRF-SDRF teams are deployed", she said in another twitter post.
Hotels in the coastal tourist resorts of Digha, Bakkhali, AMandarmoni, Talsari, Shankarpur and Bakkhali have been largely emptied of tourists.
Sea condition will be high to very high till tonight along & off north Odisha coast and along & off West Bengal & Bangladesh coasts till 10th November morning according to astatement by IMD.