Press Trust of India

Severe cyclone ‘Remal’ to make landfall by Sunday midnight

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Kolkata: Severe cyclonic storm ‘Remal’ intensified and is likely to make landfall between Bangladesh and adjoining West Bengal coasts by midnight of Sunday with maximum sustained wind speed of 110-120 km per hour gusting to 135 kmph, the Met department said.

The severe cyclone is set to bring extremely heavy rain in the coastal districts of West Bengal and heavy to very heavy rain in Kolkata and its adjoining areas.

Remal is very likely to move nearly northwards, intensify further and cross Bangladesh and adjoining West Bengal coasts between Sagar Island and Khepupara, close to southwest of Mongla in the neighbouring country, by Sunday midnight as a severe cyclonic storm with maximum sustained wind speed of 110-120 kmph gusting to 135 kmph, the weather office said.

Somnath Dutta, eastern regional head of IMD here, said that in several districts of south Bengal, squally wind will start from Sunday evening with speed reaching 45 to 55 kmph gusting to 65 kmph, affecting Kolkata, Howrah, Hooghly and Purba Medinipur.

“This will gradually increase to gale wind speed, reaching 70 to 80 kmph gusting to 90 kmph,” Dutta told reporters.

He said that from Sunday evening till Monday morning, surface wind speed in the coastal areas of West Bengal will be in the range of 100 to 120 kmph gusting to 135 kmph.

Dutta said that Remal will cause lesser damage than what happened in the wake of super cyclone Amphan.

“Remal will cause damage, but it is likely to be less than the destruction caused by Amphan that occurred in 2020,” he said.

Amphan, which was categorised as a super cyclone, had made landfall on May 20 in 2020 over Sagar Island and caused widespread destruction in Kolkata, South and North 24 Parganas, Howrah and Nadia.

The IMD on Sunday warned of localised flooding and major damage to vulnerable structures, power and communication lines, kutcha roads, crops and orchards in South and North 24 Parganas districts of West Bengal.

People in the affected areas have been asked to remain indoors and vacate vulnerable structures.

The Eastern and South Eastern railways cancelled some trains on Sunday and Monday.

Remal moved nearly northwards and intensified into a severe cyclonic storm on Sunday morning, the Met said, adding that it was situated in north Bay of Bengal, 210 km south-southeast of Sagar Islands in West Bengal, at 11.30 am.

“It currently has a maximum sustained wind speed of 90 to 100 kmph gusting to 110 kmph around the cyclone centre,” the Met bulletin said.

The Met warned of extremely heavy rainfall in the coastal districts of West Bengal and heavy to very heavy rainfall in north Odisha on May 26-27 owing to the weather system.

It said that extremely heavy precipitation is likely in Assam and Meghalaya and heavy to very heavy rain in the other northeastern states of Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura on May 27 and 28.

Storm surge of up to one metre above astronomical tide is expected to inundate low-lying areas of coastal West Bengal and Bangladesh at the time of landfall.

The weather office warned fishermen not to venture into the sea in north Bay of Bengal till May 27 morning.

Heavy to very heavy rainfall will occur at a few places in North and South 24 Parganas, Purba Medinipur, Kolkata, Howrah and Hooghly districts with extremely heavy precipitation in North and South 24 Parganas and Purba Medinipur districts, the Met said, issuing a red alert for these places.

Surface wind with speed reaching 100 to 110 kmph, gusting to 120 kmph, is likely over North and South 24 Parganas districts, which are likely to be the most impacted in West Bengal by Remal, the Met said.

As a precautionary measure, the Eastern Railway suspended train services in the Sealdah South section and Barasat-Hasnabad section of Sealdah division from 11 pm of Sunday to 6 am of Monday according to an official.

The South Eastern Railway cancelled the Kandari Express on Sunday and some MEMU and EMU services to and from the seaside tourist town of Digha on Sunday and Monday, an official said.

The authorities of Kolkata airport have decided to suspend flight operations for 21 hours from Sunday noon in view of the possible impact of cyclone Remal.

A total of 394 flights, arrival and departure, in both international and domestic sectors would not operate to and fro the airport during the flight suspension period, an Airports Authority of India (AAI) spokesperson said.

The Indian Coast Guard’s (ICG) Kolkata-headquartered North East Region authorities said they have taken all pre-emptive measures to ensure there is no loss of life or property at sea.

ICG’s remote operating stations at Haldia and Paradip were alerting fishing vessels and merchant ships through VHF (very high frequency) broadcasts, a press statement by the ICG said.

Nine disaster relief teams have also been kept on standby at Haldia, Fraserganj in West Bengal and Paradip and Gopalpur in Odisha to respond to any emergency, it said.

A control room has been set up at the Kolkata Police headquarters in Lalbazar to coordinate state agency efforts.

“Ten Kolkata police teams have been deployed across ten police divisions of the city. We are also coordinating with KMC (Kolkata Municipal Corporation), SDRF and NDRF,” a senior police officer said.

The NDRF has deployed teams with equipment across several districts including Kolkata, North and South 24 Parganas, Purba and Paschim Medinipur, Howrah and Hooghly.

Press Trust of India

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