Evacuations on as Cyclone Remal set to make landfall | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Evacuations on as Cyclone Remal set to make landfall

By, Jayashree Nandi, Kolkata/new Delhi
May 26, 2024 04:35 AM IST

Cyclone Remal intensifies in Bay of Bengal, with red warnings in West Bengal and Odisha. Evacuations underway, Kolkata airport suspends operations.

A storm brewing in the Bay of Bengal turned into Cyclone Remal, as expected, on Saturday and authorities began evacuations and ordered operations to be suspended at the Kolkata airport as Bengal and north Odisha braced for extremely heavy rainfall and winds reaching up to 130km/hr.

Kolkata police alert people of the impending Cyclone Remal in Kolkata on Saturday. (ANI)
Kolkata police alert people of the impending Cyclone Remal in Kolkata on Saturday. (ANI)

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a red warning, the highest category of warning, for several districts in West Bengal, including South 24 Parganas, North 24 Parganas, Kolkata, Howrah, and East Midnapore.

The weather system lay south, south-east of Sagar Island in West Bengal at 5.30pm and was moving at a speed of 12 km/hr in a northward direction, the IMD said. It is likely to concentrate further into a severe cyclonic storm by Sunday morning and cross West Bengal and adjoining Bangladesh coasts between Sagar Island and Khepupara with a wind speed of 110 to 120 kmph, gusting to 135 kmph, by midnight of Sunday, the agency added.

“We have already identified the low lying and vulnerable areas. Initially we plan to evacuate around 8,000 — 10,000 villagers from low lying areas. While some may move to the cyclone shelters by Saturday night, the rest would be brought in on Sunday,” said Sumit Gupta, district magistrate of South 24 Parganas.

An IMD official said that they are watching how the cyclone evolves. “The system is on very warm sea now where sea surface temperatures are over 32 degree C, the distance from the monsoon flow has increased and the ridge, a kind of an anti-cyclonic flow is pushing the system. The cyclone will intensify now but we are not expecting it to intensify more than severe cyclone stage. Lets observe how Remal behaves,” said a senior IMD official.

Kolkata airport will suspend flight operations for 21 hours from Sunday noon in view of cyclone Remal’s landfall, an official said, adding that 394 domestic and international flights during this period would be cancelled.

Several local trains in both Sealdah and Howrah divisions that usually connect Kolkata and Howrah with the adjoining districts were also cancelled. The Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port in Kolkata too said it would suspend all cargo and container handling operations for 12 hours from Sunday evening .

“As of now we may have to evacuate and shift around 25,000 people from vulnerable areas in five sea facing blocks. The evacuation would take place on Sunday. Control room is working 24X7 and we are in constant touch with the IMD for updates,” said a senior official of East Midnapore.

The IMD in Agartala also issued a severe cyclone warning for the northeastern region of India and coastal areas of Bangladesh. Tripura regions are expected to be lashed with severe rainfall accompanied by thunderstorms and lighting with speeds ranging from 40-50 kmph and with gusts reaching up to 70 kmph at peak times.

Partha Roy, the director of IMD Agartala, said, “We have a cyclone prediction. It’s on the 26th, 27th & 28th May. It has been given by IMD Agartala. The low-pressure area that was observed on 22 May in the Bay of Bengal has now intensified and is more depressive.”

The safety advisory issued by IMD has issued a stern warning to residents in the affected areas. People are advised to stay indoors and remain inside their homes during the warning period, refrain from going outside unless absolutely necessary, and safeguard outdoor items and reinforce structures to withstand high winds.

The severe weather is expected to have a significant impact on low-lying areas, including potential damage to crops and infrastructure. Flooding and disruptions to daily life are likely, and residents are advised to prepare for prolonged periods of adverse weather and interruptions in services such as electricity.

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