Cyclone makes landfall in Digha, kills 6 in 2 States
Extremely severe cyclonic storm “Amphan” made a landfall at Digha in West Bengal on Wednesday, leaving a trail of destruction which led to the death of three persons in the State. The cyclone claimed three lives in Odisha also.
The cyclone with wind speed of 160-170 kmph, gusting to 190 kmph coupled with heavy rain hit the Digha coast in East Medinipur district around 2.30 pm, officials said.
The cyclone barreled through coastal districts of West Bengal, unleashing copious rain and windstorm, blowing away thatched houses, uprooting trees, electric poles and swamping low lying towns and villages, officials said.
High velocity wind speed up to 120 km per hour uprooted hundreds of tree, electric poles and telecom infrastructure and flattening fragile structure. Amphan reached Kolkata with wind speed up to 120 km per hour at 7 pm on Wednesday evening, damaging several buildings.
As per reports, three deaths have been reported from Balasore, Bhadrak and Kendrapara districts while three person, including two women were killed in Howrah district and Minakhan area of North 24 Parganas district due to uprooting of trees.
Reports arriving in Kolkata from North and South 24 Parganas and East Midnapore said roofs of thatched houses were blown away, and twisted electric poles and broken and uprooted trees bore testimony to the devastation. Streets and homes in low lying areas of Kolkata were swamped with rainwater. A wall collapsed in Howrah near Union Minister Babul Supriyo’s residence and damaged several vehicle parked there.
The muddy Hooghly river was rising under dark skies, while in the coastal resort of Digha, large waves were pounding the shore. Three coastal districts — South and North 24 Parganas and East Midnapore — will be the worst affected, besides, vast swathes of South Bengal districts such as Kolkata, Howrah, Hooghly, West Midnapore were the worst affected. Areas such as Sagar Island, Kakdwip and Diamond Harbour in South 24 Parganas and Digha and Haldia in East Midnapore were battered by the storm, uprooting trees and electric poles and destroying many shacks.
Despite losing its force a bit since Tuesday, the storm, which was categorised as super cyclone at one point of time, has left the two States on edge as it hollered on its destructive path over the Bay of Bengal.
India Meteorological Department (IMD) Director General Mrityunjay Mohapatra, who jointly addressed the media with NDRF director general SN Pradhan, said the eye of Amphan, which is 30 km in diameter, has made landfall at around 2.30 pm between Digha in West Bengal and Hatiya Island in Bangladesh.
“The intensity of the cyclone near its centre as the landfall process started was recorded at 160-170 kmph, gusting to 190 kmph. It is likely to weaken and move through Nadia and Murshidabad districts of West Bengal as a cyclonic storm and then into Bangladesh as a deep depression on Thursday morning. The intensity near the centre of the storm was 170 to 180 kmph gusting to 200kmph, it said.
“Tidal surge of up to five metres could occur in North and South 24 Parganas and East Midnapore districts that could submerge areas in a radius of 15 km. The strong winds and rain could continue till tomorrow in West Bengal”, Mohapatra said. The Eastern Railway (ER) has cancelled the departure of Howrah-New Delhi AC Special Express for Wednesday. Kolkata airport has been closed till Thursday.
TV footage showed gigantic tidal waves crashing into a seawall in Digha, close to the landfall site. Thick sheets of rain blurred the vast coastline in the two States and surging waters engulfed mud-and-thatch houses, flattening them in a trice.
As per initial reports from Odisha, a large number of trees and electric poles have been uprooted, while many thatched and mud houses were flattened due to the cyclonic storm. Intense rainfall was recorded in several areas of Puri, Khurda, Jagatsinghpur, Cuttack, Kendrapara, Jajpur, Ganjam, Ganjam, Bhadrak and Balasore districts. Besides, Bhubaneswar-New Delhi Special Express train had to be run on a diverted route, skipping the Bhadrak-Kharagpur line due to the cyclone Amphan on Wednesday. The Odisha Government has asked the district collectors to submit cyclone Amphan damage assessment reports within 48 hours.
Parts of coastal Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday received rains accompanied by strong winds. The turbulence will likely extend to Assam and Meghalaya, triggering heavy to very heavy rain on Thursday.
According to NDRF Director General SN Pradhan, over 6 lakh people in WB and over 1.58 lakh people in Odisha evacuated as per data from Odisha and West Bengal. Cargo and evacuation flight operations at the Kolkata airport have been suspended till 5 am of Thursday due to the cyclonic storm. NDRF has deployed 20 teams for Odisha and 19 for West Bengal.
Thursday, 21 May 2020 | PNS | New Delhi
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