Cyclone Amphan made landfall in West Bengal on Wednesday, packing winds of up to 190 kmph and flattening fragile dwellings, uprooting trees and electric poles along the state’s coast.
The first arm of Cyclone Amphan hit the state’s coast as landfall began around 2.30 pm.
Amphan moved over Bengal as a very severe cyclonic storm, making landfall between Digha and Hatia Islands in Bangladesh. The Met department said wind speed of 155-165 kmph gusting to 190 kmph was recorded at the centre of the cyclone at 3.30 pm during its landfall.
At 6.30 pm, Amphan lay over the state’s coast, close to Kolkata, with wind speed reduced to 130-140 kmph gusting to 155 kmph.
You can track the cyclone’s movement here.
Two women were killed in Howrah district and Minakhan area of North 24 Parganas district due to uprooting of trees, an official told PTI.
Super cyclone Amphan had weakened into an extremely severe cyclonic storm on Tuesday but still packed enough force to pulverise coastal districts of Odisha and West Bengal where lakhs of people were evacuated from vulnerable areas and shifted to safety, officials said.
Here are the updates:
8.17 pm: The storm’s impact
PTI reported TV footage showing gigantic tidal waves crashing into a seawall in Digha, close to the landfall site.
Thick sheets of rain blurred the vast coastline in the two states and surging waters engulfed mud-and-thatch houses, flattening them in a trice.
Heavy machinery was moved in to clear the roads blocked by falling trees.
Amphan is crossing the West Bengal-Bangladesh coast east of Sagar Island.
The cyclonic storm will get weaker while crossing over Nadia and Murshidabad in West Bengal later tonight before entering Bangladesh as a deep depression and dissipating, IMD has forecast.
8.01 pm: 6.68 lakh evacuated
NDRF chief S N Pradhan told a press conference in New Delhi that 20 teams of the national disaster response force had already begun road clearing operations in Odisha, while the 19 units deployed in West Bengal were shifting people to safety.
Quoting figures made available by the two states, Pradhan said over 5 lakh people were evacuated in West Bengal and more than 1.58 lakh in Odisha.
7.25 pm: Storm will reach Assam, Meghalaya tomorrow: IMD
The storm will reach Assam and Meghalaya on May 21 and it will bring heavy to very heavy rainfall in these two northeastern districts, IMD Director General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra was quoted as saying by PTI.
7.11 pm: Standing crops inundated in Odisha’s Jagatsinghpur
Rain and high velocity wind brought by Cyclone Amphan inundated standing crops, damaged kucha houses and uprooted electric polls in Ersama area of Jagatsinghpur in Odisha, PIB reports.
6.15 pm: Landfall in Bengal’s Sunderbans
5.59 pm: Impact seen at coast of Jagatsinghpur district in Odisha
4.59 pm: Kolkata braces for impact
After landfall process is complete, the system is likely to move north-northeastwards close to Kolkata, IMD’s forecast says. Kolkata reported winds with speed of 105 mph at 2.30 pm today.
Wind speed in Kolkata and adjoining districts likely to be 110-120 kmph when the cyclone moves near it, IMD said.
The Doppler Weather Radar in the city is now tracking the cyclone.
The cyclone is expected to weaken very severe to sever cyclonic storm tonight. By tomorrow morning, it is expected to weaken even further.
4.51 pm: Impact in Odisha to end in another 2-3 hours, says IMD chief
“Bhadrak and Balasore (in Odisha) will continue to have damaging impact for 2-3 more hours. After this Odisha will not have any damaging impact,” IMD chief Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said at the government press briefing.
4.24pm: Visuals from Bengal and Odisha
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4.40 pm: 5 lakh evacuated in Bengal, says NDRF
According to data obtained from states, more than 5 lakh people in West Bengal and more than 1.5 lakh people in Odisha have been evacuated, the NDRF chief said.
3.46 pm: Flooding likely in Kolkata
Heavy rain and gale wind have affected several districts in the Gangetic West Bengal since morning and the intensity of the downpour and wind increased gradually with every passing hour. At 3.05 pm, wind speed at Dum Dum airport was recorded at 76 km per hour, the Met said.
The system is likely to move north-northeastwards after landfall and pass close to Kolkata in its eastern side causing extensive damage and flooding of low-lying areas of the city, the Met department warned. (PTI)
The city of Kolkata has nearly 1,500 cases of the coronavirus.
3.40 pm: Had to force people out of their homes, make them wear masks, says official
Police in West Bengal told Reuters people had been unwilling to go to the shelters because they were afraid of contracting COVID-19 and many had refused to leave their livestock behind.
“We have literally had to force people out of their homes, make them wear masks and put them in government buildings,” said a senior police official in Kolkata.
Monoranjan, a resident of Choto Mollakhali island in the Sunderbans area that is expected to bear the brunt of the storm, said the rains could inundate stockpiles of rice. “We are just praying for this night to get over,” he said.
3.22 pm: IMD says landfall began at 2.30 pm
“The landfall process commenced since 2:30 PM and will continue for about 4 hours. The forward sector of the wall cloud region is entering into land in West Bengal,” Director, IMD Bhubaneswar’s director said, ANIquoted.
Meanwhile, heavy rains are lashing the coast of Bangladesh.
3.14 pm: The turbulent sea at Digha
1.45 pm: Landfall to begin at 4 pm
1.23 pm: 4.5 lakh evacuated in Odisha and Bengal
About 4.5 lakh people have been evacuated from vulnerable areas in West Bengal and Odisha ahead of landfall, NDRF chief SN Pradhan said.
As per data received from the state governments, he said, about 1.20-1.25 lakh people have been evacuated in Odisha and about 3.30 lakh in West Bengal in view of the cyclone.
As per ground reports received till this morning, rains and winds are being experienced in affected areas of Odisha and West Bengal, Pradhan said.
1.13 pm: Bangladesh on alert
12.50pm: NDRF update
NDRF chief says Bhadrak and Balasore districts are the impact areas in Odisha.
Landfall will begin in South 24 Paraganas and the island of Kakdwip and Sagar very late in the afternoon, SN Pradhan said.
Pradhan said the main worry is storm surge of 4-6 metres predicted by IMD.
12.32 pm: Rough seas at Digha
12.25 pm: Cyclone Amphan 125 km south-southeast of West Bengal’s Digha
The cyclone has moved north-northeastwards at 29 kmph in the past six hours, IMD said.
11. 45 am: Visual from Balasore in Odisha
11.17 am: Intense rainfall in various parts of Odisha
Intense rainfall has been recorded in several areas of Puri, Khurda, Jagatsinghpur, Cuttack, Kendrapara, Jajpur, Ganjam, Ganjam, Bhadrak and Balasore districts since Tuesday, officials told the Press Trust of India.
More than 1.25 lakh people have so far been evacuated from low-lying coastal areas and the process of evacuation was still underway in some places like Balasore on Wednesday morning, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC), PK Jena, said.
There are reports of many trees being uprooted from different areas including Erasama and Paradip in Jagatsinghpur district.
A report from Bhadrak district said many trees and electric poles were uprooted in the district under the impact of gusty winds and heavy downpour, blocking roads in several areas.
Heavy downpour accompanied by gusty wind also lashed Kendrapara where district administration has evacuated 38,000 people from vulnerable seaside pockets to the safety of multi-purpose cyclone shelter buildings.
Reports of trees and electric poles being uprooted and ‘kutcha ’ houses being blown away are coming in from various parts of the district. However, there has been no major damage to life and property so far.
11.01 am: Forecast track and intensity of the cyclone
According to the Regional Specialized Monitoring Centre, by 11.30 am today the Amphan’s maximum sustained wind speed of 160-170 kmph gusting to 190 kmph. It is expected to weaken from an Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm to a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm by 5.30 pm.
By 11.30 pm, the maximum sustained wind speed is expected to fall to 110-120 gusting to 135 kmph with the Cyclone Amphan weakening even further to a Severe Cyclonic Storm.
10.47 am: The latest bulletin from IMD
In the past six hours, Cyclone Amphan has moved north-northestwards with a speed of 22 kmph.
10.17 am: Kolkata airport operations suspended till 5 am tomorrow
“All operations suspended at Kolkata airport till 5 am tomorrow in view of Cyclone Amphan including special flights, which were operational in view of COVID-19 pandemic,” the airport director said, according to ANI.
9.48 am: Landfall expected near Sunderbans in Bengal by late evening, Next 6-8 hours crucial, says Odisha’s SRC
Odisha’s Special Relief Commissioner PK Jena says Cyclone Amphan is moving at a speed of 18-19kmph. “An hour ago, wind speed of 102 kmph was observed at Paradip. Landfall expected near Sunderbans in West Bengal by late evening today. The next 6-8 hours are crucial,” he said.
9.33 am: Landfall process to begin in the afternoon
Amphan is about 120 km east-southeast of Paradip (Odisha) as of 8.30 am IST. The cyclone will begin landfall in the afternoon, IMD said.
9.19 am: Visuals of high tide and strong winds in Bengal’s Digha
9.15 am: Location update
Amphan lay centred as an extremely severe cyclonic storm over northwest Bay of Bengal, about 125 km nearly south-southeast of Odisha’s Paradip and 225 km south of West Bengal’s Digha, IMD said in its 8 am bulletin.
9.09 am: Odisha’s Paradip records highest wind speed of 102 kmph and rainfall 208.3mm
9.01 am: Expected impact of Cyclone Amphan
WHAT WILL HAPPEN TODAY?
The Meteorological (MeT) Department has issued an “orange message” for West Bengal and warned of extensive damage in Kolkata, Hooghly, Howrah, South and North 24 Parganas and East Midnapore districts.
The cyclonic storm will have maximum sustained wind speed of 155 kmph to 165 kmph gusting to 180 kmph, it said.
On Wednesday, rainfall will occur in most places in the districts of Gangetic West Bengal with heavy to a hefty downpour at a few places in Kolkata, Howrah, East Midnapore,North and South 24 Parganas and Hooghly districts, regional MeT office director G K Das said.
“Storm surge of 4 to 5 metres above astronomical tide is likely to inundate low lying areas of South and North 24 Parganas and about 3 to 4 metres over low lying areas of East Midnapore district of West Bengal during the time of landfall,” he said.
IMD Director-General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said since the cyclone is gradually weakening, its impact is unlikely to be very severe in Odisha.
However, coastal districts like Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Balasore are likely to be battered by heavy rains and high-velocity winds from Tuesday evening, he said.