Due to severe cyclone ‘Bulbul’, operations at the Kolkata airport have been suspended for 12 hours with effect from 6 pm on Saturday.
A media report quoted a home ministry official as saying: “Due to very severe cyclone ‘Bulbul’, operations at Kolkata airport is being suspend from 1800 hours on November 9 up to 0600 hours on November 10.”
The Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC) said during the time of landfall, there could be a storm surge of about one to two metres height in 24 Parganas North and 24 Parganas South district.
There could be storm surge of 0.5 to 1 m height in East Midnapore district above the astronomical tide which is likely to inundate low lying areas.
The RMC, Guwahati warned of heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places with extremely heavy falls very likely at Gangetic West Bengal;
On Saturday, the RMC on its all India weather warning bulletin forecast “very heavy rainfall” in several Northeastern states.
According to the weather bulletin, “heavy to very heavy rainfall” very likely to hit isolated places over Odisha and heavy rainfall at isolated places over Assam & Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram & Tripura.
It also warned of thunderstorm accompanied with lightning at isolated places very likely over south Assam & east Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram & Tripura.
It has been reported that the cyclone is expected to make a landfall on the West Bengal coast at around 8 pm to 8 pm on Saturday.
The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), the country’s apex body to handle any emergency, on Saturday reviewed the preparedness to deal with the very severe cyclone ‘Bulbul’ over the Bay of Bengal.
Meanwhile, Bangladeshi authorities reportedly ordered evacuation of about 18 lakh people from the low-lying coastal villages and islands as the country.
The latest met office bulletin said Bulbul was 280 km southwest of Bangladesh’s southwestern Mongla Port and 315 km southwest of Payra Port while it was moving in a north/northeastern direction.
It said the maximum sustained wind speed within 74 kms of the cyclone centre was about 130 kph which was rising to 150 kph in gusts/squalls.
It may be mentioned that in May this year, Fani became the most powerful storm to hit the country in five years, but the death toll was about 12.
In November 2007, cyclone Sidr killed more than 3,000 people.