Cyclone Fani to enter West Bengal by midnight (Lead)



The extremely severe cyclonic storm Fani, which is currently situated at about 370 km southwest of Kolkata, is likely to enter West Bengal with a wind speed of 90-100 kmph gusting to 115 kmph by midnight to Saturday early morning, an official said here on Friday.

The storm, which has crossed the Odisha coast near Puri, would enter West Bengal as a severe cyclonic storm and the gale would start from Friday evening in the coastal districts adjacent to neighbouring Odisha, the official said.

"Extremely severe cyclone Fani crossed the Odisha coast near Puri with the eye of the storm over land, however over the last hour or so the storm has weakened into a severe cyclonic storm.

"It is currently situated at about 370 km southwest of Kolkata and 227 km southwest of the East Midnapore district sea resort Digha. It will move in north-northeast directions to enter the state," Regional Meteorological Centre's Director Sanjib Bandyopadhyay told reporters.

He said the storm would "emerge into Gangetic West Bengal as severe cyclonic storm with wind speed of 90-100 kmph gusting to 115 kmph and the gale will reach maximum velocity around late midnight to early morning Saturday. 

He said the storm would further weaken into a cyclonic storm by afternoon or evening on Sunday and move to Bangladesh with a wind speed of 60-70 kmph.

As the severe cyclonic storm Fani made landfall in neighbouring Odisha, heavy rainfall lashed Kolkata and Gangetic West Bengal on Friday.

The extremely severe cyclonic storm made landfall a little after 10 a.m.

The Director General of Civil Aviation has issued a revised advisory to all airlines to discontinue flight operations from Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport between Friday 3 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m.

"The outer ring cloud band has already reached the coastal areas of West Bengal and Kolkata, prompting rainfall. The rain intensity will be gradually increasing. As the cyclone comes closer to Bengal it will have a speed of 80-100 kmph," weatherman J.K. Mukhopadhyay said.

In order to tackle any emergency situation, six teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed in Jhargram district's Sankrail, West Medinipur's Narayangarh Block, in Ramnagar of EAst Medinipur district, Kakdwip in South 24 Parganas, Dhamakhali and Hasnabad of North 24 Parganas district.

All precautionary measures like flight cancellation at airports, cancellation of trains and water transport services have been taken.

The state government and the Kolkata Municipal Corporation have decided to shift people living in low lying areas to safer places.

The Kolkata Municipal Corporation has formed a team along with various departments like the Police and Disaster Management to monitor the measures being initiated to prevent any untoward happenings.

A toll-free helpline number 1070 has been shared for assistance.IANS