Admist the COVID-19 pandemic, the West Bengal is gearing up to prevent maximum disaster and loss of life due to the onset of super cyclone Amphan which will hit Kolkata and neighbouring districts on the May 20.
Heavy to very heavy rains along with squally winds are expected in Kolkata and the districts, with objects expected to fly due to heavy wind speeds. The cyclone which is to travel in the south west of the Bay of Bengal at a speed of 75-85km/hr from Wednesday morning and will increase upto 110-130km/hr till Wednessday afternoon. The wind speed can be as high as 185km/hr in North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas and East Midnapore districts on Wednesday.
Super cyclone Amphan is expected to make landfall in southeast of Kolkata near Sunderbans. The exact location is slated to be between Digha in West Bengal and Haitya islands in Bangladesh. “Maximum damage will be witnessed in East Midnapore district, followed by South 24 Paragnas and then Kolkata. The super cyclone will then travel to North 24 Paragans, Hoogly and West Midnapore districts which will also be impacted,” said Deputy Director General, Sanjeevn Bandhopadhyay, MET Department Alipore.
The MET department has issued advisories for markets and beaches to remain shut to prevent minimum destruction of flying objects. No fishermen is at sea as they were asked to come back to the coast by the 18th of May and cannot resume fishing till 21st of May. Since this is the area where maximum damage takes place, this disaster has been averted. Ferry services too will be shut as a prevention measure.
A concern however remains over crops in fields and the MET department has advised for crops to be harvested in advance to prevent damage to fields. However due to the lockdown tourist activities in beaches like Digha, Mandarmani and Bakhali in Sunderbans is not taking place, which is one precaution struck off the checklist. In addition to this, amusement parks face a big risk which are also shut.
The MET department is worried about the extent of the damage as this is expected to be stronger than earlier cyclones that have hit West Bengal including cyclone Aila and Bulbul in the last few years. Observations from coastal observatories are taking place every 3 hours and the MET department will increase it to an hourly frequency from 5:00pm onwards on Tuesday.