Super Cyclone Amphan is currently barrelling towards the coasts of India and Bangladesh with a wind speed of more than 200 kilometres per hour. Currently classified as an ‘extremely severe cyclonic storm’, Amphan is expected to make landfall on Wednesday afternoon or evening. Cyclone Amphan is expected to cross the coast between the beach town of Digha in West Bengal and Hatiya Island in Bangladesh.
The weather office has warned that Cyclone Amphan will result in rainfall in Odisha, West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam and Meghalaya between May 19 and May 21. A storm surge that Amphan will bring in its wake is likely to flood certain low-lying areas in West Bengal while the accompanying strong winds could damage power and communications lines, roads and railway infrastructure, and crops and trees, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has also warned.
Cyclone Amphan is the first cyclonic storm of the 2020 North Indian Ocean cyclone season and first ‘super cyclone’ to form over the Bay of Bengal since the catastrophic 1999 Odisha cyclone that killed several thousand. Pronounced ‘um-pun’, Amphan was named by Thailand and is the last in the list of names that were decided in 2004. Earlier this year, IMD and weather offices of other countries released a fresh batch of names for cyclonic storms that will follow Amphan.
CYCLONE AMPHAN PROJECTED PATH AND LANDFALL
Cyclone Amphan is expected to make landfall between Digha in West Bengal and Hatiya Island in Bangladesh on Wednesday, May 20. The cyclone will likely cross the coast in the afternoon or evening as ‘very severe cyclonic storm’ with a maximum wind speed of 185 kmph.
Plotted using Google Maps below is the excepted path of Cyclone Amphan over the next two days. The path has been plotted based on information released by the India Meteorological Department on Tuesday afternoon. It’s a rough estimate of Cyclone Amphan’s expected progress. The various pins on the map below offer an idea of the location of Cyclone Amphan at a particular point; tap on the pins to know more.
CYCLONE AMPHAN: KEY POINTS
What: A very severe cyclonic storm; the first ‘super cyclone’ over the Bay of Bengal since 1999 Odisha cyclone
When: Landfall expected on Wednesday afternoon-evening
Where: Cyclone will make landfall between Digha in West Bengal and Hatiya Island in Bangladesh
Weather: Heavy rainfall in parts of Odisha, West Bengal and the Northeast
Very severe #TropicalCyclone #Amphan was caught this morning by @JMA_kishou‘s #Himawari8 satellite as it headed toward India and Bangladesh. At last report, it was the equivalent of a Category 5 Atlantic hurricane.
— NOAA Satellites (@NOAASatellites) May 18, 2020
CYCLONE AMPHAN WEATHER FORECAST
According to the India Meteorological Department, Cyclone Amphan will result in rainfall in several areas of the east coast as well as parts of Northeast. The cyclone is also expected to cause flooding in certain parts of West Bengal.
Odisha: Light to moderate rain is expected in coastal Odisha with heavy rainfall in Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapada, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Balasore, Cuttack, Mayurbhanj, Khordha and Puri on May 19. Heavy rainfall is also expected over Balasore, Bhadrak, Mayurbhaj, Jajpur, Kendrapada and Keonjargarh on May 20.
West Bengal: Rainfall will begin in West Bengal’s East Medinipur and South and North 24 Parganas district on May 19. Intense rainfall is expected in these areas and West Medinipur, Howrah, Hoogli and Kolkata on May 20. Low-lying areas of Medinipur and South and North 24 Parganas are likely to be flooded at around the time of Cyclone Amphan’s landfall on Wednesday.
Rainfall in Kolkata in West Bengal ahead of Cyclone Amphan’s landfall (PTI photo)
Northeast: Parts of Sikkim, Assam and Meghalaya are likely to witness light to moderate rainfall will spells of heavy rain on Thursday, May 21.
PREPARATIONS FOR CYCLONE AMPHAN
Cyclone Amphan comes at a time when social distancing norms are in effect across the country to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. Authorities at the Centre and in Odisha and West Bengal have said that they are fully prepared to deal with the cyclone’s outcome.
According to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, at least three lakh people have evacuated from coastal areas of the state as of Tuesday afternoon. Odisha, which has a good track record of preparing for cyclone, is also evacuating people from coastal areas.
Rough seas at the Puri beach in Odisha ahead of Cyclone Amphan’s landfall (PTI photo)
The National Disaster Response Force has deployed 34 teams on the ground in West Bengal (19) and Odisha (15) with another seven on standby. Rescue and relief teams from the Indian Army and Indian Navy as well as ships and aircraft of the Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard are also on alert.
Other teams for maintenance and restoration of power and telecom infrastructure are also in position and telecom service providers have been asked to ensure availability of diesel generators so that they can be used to quickly restart damaged cellphone towers.
The IMD has recommended the suspension of all rail and road travel in the affected districts until Cyclone Amphan blows over.