Fishing boats anchored at a harbour in view of Cyclone 'Remal', in South 24 Parganas district, Sunday, May 26, 2024.
Fishing boats anchored at a harbour in view of Cyclone 'Remal', in South 24 Parganas district, Sunday, May 26, 2024.Photo | PTI

Cyclone 'Remal' intensifies into severe cyclonic storm, expected to make landfall by Sunday midnight

The cyclonic storm is expected to make landfall between West Bengal's Sagar Island and Bangladesh's Khepupara on Sunday night, as per IMD.

KOLKATA: Cyclone 'Remal' has strengthened into a severe cyclonic storm and is expected to hit the coasts of Bangladesh and West Bengal by Sunday midnight, with winds of 110–120 kmph and gusting up to 135 kmph, according to the Meteorological Department.

The cyclone is anticipated to bring extremely heavy rainfall to the coastal districts of West Bengal and heavy to very heavy rain in Kolkata and nearby areas.

Remal, moving northward, is likely to intensify further before crossing the coasts between Sagar Island (West Bengal) and Khepupara (Bangladesh), near the southwest of Mongla port, around midnight on Sunday, the weather office reported.

In response to the approaching cyclone, the Eastern and South Eastern Railways have cancelled several train services in the coastal districts of South and North 24 Parganas and Purba Medinipur district as a precaution.

Kolkata Airport authorities have decided to suspend flight operations for 21 hours starting at noon on Sunday due to the anticipated impact of cyclone Remal.

This will affect 394 flights, both domestic and international. Precautionary measures include lowering high mast lights, securing equipment, and mooring smaller aircraft.

The Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port in Kolkata will also suspend cargo and container handling operations for 12 hours starting Sunday evening in response to the cyclone forecast.

As of 8:30 am on Sunday, the cyclone was located in the northern Bay of Bengal, 240 km south-southeast of Sagar Islands, with sustained winds of 90–100 kmph and gusting up to 110 kmph.

The Meteorological Department has warned of extremely heavy rain in the coastal districts of West Bengal and heavy to very heavy rain in northern Odisha on May 26–27. Assam and Meghalaya are also expected to receive extremely heavy rain, with heavy to very heavy rain forecast for Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, and Tripura on May 27–28.

A storm surge of up to one metre above the astronomical tide is expected to inundate low-lying areas of coastal West Bengal and Bangladesh during landfall. Fishermen have been advised not to venture into the northern Bay of Bengal until the morning of May 27.

Heavy to very heavy rain is predicted for North and South 24 Parganas, Purba Medinipur, Kolkata, Howrah, and Hooghly districts, with extremely heavy rain in North and South 24 Parganas and Purba Medinipur districts, prompting a red alert for these areas. Nadia and Murshidabad districts are also likely to experience heavy to very heavy rain on May 27–28.

Winds of 100–110 kmph, gusting to 120 kmph, are expected in the North and South 24 Parganas, while Kolkata, Howrah, Hooghly, and Purba Medinipur districts could see winds of 70–80 kmph, gusting to 90 kmph. Nadia and Purba Bardhaman districts may experience winds of 60–70 kmph, gusting to 80 kmph, and other parts of south Bengal could see winds of 40–50 kmph, gusting to 60 kmph.

As a precaution, the Eastern Railway has suspended train services in the Sealdah South and Barasat-Hasnabad sections from 11 pm on Sunday to 6 am on Monday, resulting in the cancellation of several local trains.

The South Eastern Railway has also cancelled the Kandari Express on Sunday and some services to and from Digha on Sunday and Monday.

In northern Odisha, Balasore, Bhadrak, and Kendrapara districts are expected to receive heavy rain on May 26-27, with heavy rain in Mayurbhanj on May 27.

North Bengal districts Cooch Behar, Alipurduar, and Jalpaiguri are likely to receive extremely heavy rain on May 28–29, with Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Uttar, and Dakshin Dinajpur districts also expecting heavy rain.

The IMD has warned of localised flooding and major damage to vulnerable structures, power and communication lines, roads, crops, and orchards in the South and North 24 Parganas districts. Residents in affected areas have been advised to stay indoors and evacuate vulnerable structures.

The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has taken preemptive measures to prevent loss of life or property at sea, with remote operating stations at Haldia and Paradip alerting fishing vessels and merchant ships.

The ICG has also prepared ships and aircraft for search and rescue missions, with disaster relief teams on standby at Haldia, Fraserganj, Paradip, and Gopalpur.

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, SDRF and NDRF," a senior police officer said.

Teams from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are also heading to the districts expected to be affected by the cyclonic storm.

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

The New Indian Express