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Incoming cyclone Yaas: Low-pressure system set to form on Bay of Bengal; fishermen, mariners asked to return to shore

Regional Met director G K Das said several places in Bengal are likely to experience light to moderate rainfall from May 25, and isolated areas may encounter heavy showers.

Published: 20th May 2021 11:04 PM  |   Last Updated: 20th May 2021 11:04 PM   |  A+A-

Cyclone Nivar is expected to make landfall by Wednesday evening.

Representational Image. (File Photo)

By PTI

KOLKATA: A low-pressure area, set to form over east central Bay of Bengal on May 22, is likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm and strike the Odisha-West Bengal coast on May 26, the Met department said on Thursday, sparking fears of another Amphan-like catastrophe.

Regional Met director G K Das said several places in Bengal are likely to experience light to moderate rainfall from May 25, and isolated areas may encounter heavy showers.

The intensity of rainfall may gradually increase, especially in the Gangetic belts.

The Met department has also warned of rough to very rough sea conditions.

Fishermen in West Bengal have been advised against venturing into the sea for a few days from May 23.

Those who are out with trawlers have been requested to return to the shore in the next two days.

The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) said it is closely monitoring the developments on the Bay of Bengal, and has initiated preventive measures.

"Coast Guard Dornier aircraft and ships are intimating the fishermen operating close to the shore and those at sea about the formation of cyclonic storm over Odisha-West Bengal coast, and directing them to return back to the harbour safely," an ICG official said.

He said that radar stations at the ICG in West Bengal and Odisha have also started transmitting weather warnings at regular intervals, both in English and in vernacular language.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday held a high-level meeting with officials of the disaster management authority, district magistrates and police superintendents to review the preparations in place in the event of a cyclone.

She has asked them to make necessary arrangements, while strictly following the COVID protocols.

The Amphan super cyclone, which struck Bengal in the third week of May last year, had claimed at least 98 lives and caused widespread destruction of property and infrastructure in the state's southern districts, including Kolkata, causing immense hardship to millions of people.

The prevailing low-pressure area, if it develops into a cyclone, will be christened 'Yaas', a name given by Oman, in accordance with a standard procedure.

The Indian Metrological Department (IMD), being a Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre (RSMC) -- one of the six in the world -- provide tropical cyclone and storm surge advisories to 13 countries, including Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

The RSMC, New Delhi has released a list of names for tropical cyclones after taking into consideration suggestions made by these 13 countries - all members of WMO/ESCAP (World Meteorological Organisation/United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific).

The ships, aircraft and remote stations of the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) have started warning fishermen and mariners in Bay of Bengal to return to the shores or take shelter at the nearest ports as cyclone Yaas is likely to intensify within the next 72 hours, an official statement said on Thursday.

"As per IMD (Indian Meteorological Department) forecast, a low pressure area is very likely to form over North Andaman Sea and adjoining East Central Bay of Bengal around May 22 (Saturday)," the ICG statement said.

Yaas is forming in the Bay of Bengal a few days after the cyclone Tauktae hit the Arabian Sea.

Tauktae made a landfall on Monday night near Una town in Gir Somnath, Gujarat, and wreaked havoc for around 28 hours before it weakened into a depression.

At least 53 people have lost their lives in incidents related to the cyclone in different parts of Gujarat.

Regarding Yaas, the ICG said in a statement that it is very likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm in next 72 hours.

"It is predicted to move north-westwards and reach Odisha-West Bengal coasts around May 26 evening," it added.

Pre-emptive measures have already been initiated by the ICG to deal with Yaas, it mentioned.

"Weather warnings are being regularly relayed by ICG ships, aircraft and ROC (remote operating centre)/ROS (remote operating station) on VHF (very high frequency) urging fishermen and mariners to return to shore or take shelter in nearest port," it noted.

These warnings are being relayed in English as well as in vernacular languages to alert merchant vessels, fishing boats, scientific research vessels, oil rigs, accommodation barges, support vessels for offshore development areas, it said.

"Port authorities, oil rig operators, shipping, fisheries authorities and fishermen associations have been informed about the likelihood of cyclone formation," it noted.

The ICG said a fishing ban is already in force on the east coast of India.

In addition, ICG's Disaster Relief Teams (DRTs) with inflatable boats, life buoys and life jackets are on standby for undertaking disaster response operations, it added.

The Odisha government on Thursday alerted the authorities of 12 districts of the state as a cyclonic storm may hit its coast on May 26 and said that it is prepared to face the eventuality.

Odisha received a bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecasting the formation of a low pressure area in the Bay of Bengal, which may take the shape of a cyclonic storm, Special Relief Commissioner P K Jena said.

The system is likely to pass through the Odisha-West Bengal coast by May 26.

"We are well-prepared to face the cyclonic storm likely to form over the Bay of Bengal," Jena told reporters after holding preparatory meetings with officials.

Though the IMD is yet to spell out the path of the possible cyclone, its wind speed and its intensity, the state government has already asked all the departments including energy and panchayati raj, urban development and home to remain prepared with man and machinery to face the possible cyclonic storm.

The prevailing low-pressure area, if it develops into a cyclone, will be christened 'Yaas', a name given by Oman, in accordance with a standard procedure.

Jena had discussions with the district magistrates-cum collectors, superintendents of police, disaster response forces, fire brigade, telecommunication providers and others.

The authorities of Balasore, Bhadrak, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Puri, Ganjam, Mayurbhanj, Jajpur, Nayagarh, Khurda, Cuttack and Gajapati districts have been alerted on the possible cyclone, Jena said.

They were told to keep the cyclone and flood shelters ready with drinking water, power, sanitation facilities.

The district officials have already started repairing the cyclone shelters, he said.

The energy department has been asked to ensure that hospitals and health facilities get alternative power supplies if there is a cyclone.

"As of now, nothing is clear about the cyclonic storm and where it will hit. We will expedite actions as per the IMD prediction," the SRC told reporters.

Jena also appealed to people not to panic over possible cyclone and urged the media to report responsibly on the issue.



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