BHUBANESWAR: Even as India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Thursday said cyclonic storm Bulbul will intensify into severe cyclonic storm but swerve towards Bangladesh and adjoining West Bengal, the Odisha Government asked Collectors of nine districts to declare holidays in schools and colleges if the situation arose on November 8 but directed mandatory shutdown of the educational institutions on November 9.
It was also decided that two units each of Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) will be deployed at Balasore, Bhadrak, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Khurda, Puri, Mayurbhanj, Jajpur and Cuttack districts to deal with any emergency situation. Besides, one unit each of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) will be deployed in these districts. Chief Secretary Asit Kumar Tripathy held a meeting to review the preparedness earlier in the day.
The storm is set to move north-westward for next 12 hours before heading northward till Saturday. Then it would re-curve northeastward away from Odisha. It is expected to cross West bengal-Bangladesh coast between Sagar islands and Khepupara around November 10 forenoon.
However, an alert Government has asked Collectors of the nine districts to evacuate the people from low-lying areas and shift them to shelter homes and spread awareness among the farmers on how to protect their crops. The fishermen have been asked not to venture into north-west Bay of Bengal along and off Odisha and West Bengal coasts from November 8, an official said.
Regional Met office said cyclone Bulbul over the east-central Bay of Bengal lay centered about 560 km south-southeast of Paradip in Odisha, 680 km south-southeast of Sagar Island in West Bengal and 740 km south-southwest of Khepupara in Bangladesh.
“Under the influence of the system, heavy rainfall is likely at isolated places in Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara and Bhadrak districts on Friday, while heavy to very heavy rainfall is expected at isolated places in Balasore, Bhadrak, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur districts on Saturday,” Director, Bhubaneswar Meteorological Centre, HR Biswas said.
Similarly, heavy rainfall may occur at isolated places in Cuttack, Jajpur and Mayurbhanj districts on Saturday. Light to moderate rainfall or thundershower activities is likely at many places in Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara and Bhadrak districts, at a few places in the remaining districts of coastal Odisha and at isolated places in the interior districts on Friday, Biswas said.
The IMD also warned major damage to kuccha houses in coastal districts of North Odisha, damage to thatched houses/huts, partial damage to power and communication lines, uprooting of trees, major damage to coastal crops, and others, in the region.