Super Cyclone Amphan hit several areas of Odisha and West Bengal today. The landfall process started around 2:30 PM, and will continue for about 4 hours. "The forward sector of the wall cloud region is entering into land in West Bengal," said Director, IMD Bhubaneswar. Right now, the Cyclone Amphan has moved down its originally forecasted path. "It has already crossed Paradip, Kendrapara, Dhamra, and right now it is at sea adjoining Balasore. Maybe in another 3 hours, it will make landfall," says Pradeep Kumar Jena, IAS Special Relief Commissioner, Odisha.
News agency IANS reported the extremely severe cyclonic storm is only 100k away from West Bengal's Digha where it is slated to make a landfall at 4 and is moving with a speed of 160kmph-180 kmph as of now. The cyclone is expected to move north-northeastwards with a wind speed of 155 to 165 kmph, according to the Met Department. Amphan lies 177 km south-southeast of Digha and is likely to move north-northeast close to Kolkata following landfall. According to Deputy director of IMD Kolkata, Amphan is likely to retain its intensity as a cyclone till May 21 morning. According to a PTI report, West Bengal has evacuated more than 3 lakh people to safer places as the cyclonic storm inched closer towards coastal areas in the state. In the meanwhile, the Met Department has issued an orange message for West Bengal and warned of extensive damage in Kolkata, Hooghly, Howrah, East MIdnapore district and South and North 24 Parganas.
"Super cyclonic storm Amphan, over west-central Bay of Bengal, moved north-northeastwards with a speed of 17 kmph and lay centred at around 11:30 am on May 19 as an 'extremely severe cyclonic storm' over west-central Bay of Bengal," IMD had earlier said.
Mohapatra also said that IMD expects a slight delay in the arrival of monsoon in Kerala owing to the tropical cyclone. Monsoon is expected to hit Kerala coast by June 5, he said.
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has already deployed teams in the coastal areas of Bengal and Odisha. "15 teams are deployed in Odisha. They are carrying out awareness drives, communication drives, and evacuation. 19 teams are deployed in West Bengal, 2 are in standby there. We are facing a dual challenge right now - COVID-19 and cyclone," NDRF chief SN Pradhan said.
Meanwhile, the IMD had earlier advised fishermen not to venture into the west-central Bay of Bengal off the north Andhra Pradesh coast on May 18 and into the north Bay of Bengal along and off the Odisha-West Bengal coasts from May 18 onwards.ALSO READ: Cyclone Amphan turns into super cyclonic storm; PM Modi holds review meet