Cyclone Bulbul makes landfall, weakens into deep depression over Bay of Bengal: IMD predicts heavy rains in Bengal, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram, Assam

  • After making landfall at a speed of 110 to 120 kilometres per hour (kph) between West Bengal's Sagar Islands and Khepupara in Bangladesh on Sunday early in the morning, the severe cyclonic storm Bulbul is now likely to weaken gradually as it moves towards coastal Bangladesh

  • Sea condition will be high to very rough over the northeast Bay of Bengal for the next 12 hours. Fishermen are advised not to venture into sea along and off north Odisha-West Bengal coasts in the next 12 hours, warned IMD

  • According to IMD's weather bulletin at 7 am, Bulbul weakened into a cyclonic storm and lay centred at 5.30 am over Bangladesh and adjoining coastal West Bengal

After making landfall at a speed of 110 to 120 kilometres per hour (kph) between West Bengal’s Sagar Islands and Khepupara in Bangladesh on Sunday early in the morning, the severe cyclonic storm Bulbul is now likely to weaken gradually as it moves towards coastal Bangladesh and adjoining South and North 24 Parganas districts of Bengal, says India Meteorological Department (IMD). Operations in Kolkata airport was suspended till 6 am on Sunday. The West Bengal government said that over 1.2 lakh have been evacuated from coastal areas after Bulbul made landfall on Saturday evening.

IMD had warned that sea condition will be high to very rough over the northeast Bay of Bengal for the next 12 hours. Fishermen were also advised not to venture into sea along and off north Odisha-West Bengal coasts in the next 12 hours. They were advised not to venture into north Bay of Bengal for the next 18 hours.

According to IMD's weather bulletin at 7 am, Bulbul weakened into a cyclonic storm and lay centred at 5.30 am over Bangladesh and adjoining coastal West Bengal. It is very likely to move North-Eastwards across Bangladesh and likely to weaken into a deep depression during next the six hours.

"Severe cyclonic storm Bulbul crossed West Bengal coast close to Sundarban Dhanchi forest during 20:30 to 23:30 hrs IST of 9 November with the wind speed of 110-120 kmph gusting upto 135 kmph," the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said early on Sunday. Bulbul is on course to make landfall in the southwestern Khulna region, near the Sundarbans, the world's largest mangrove forest, which straddles Bangladesh and part of eastern India and is home to the endangered Bengal tigers. About 55,000 volunteers have been mobilised to go door-to-door and alert people about the storm. A 28- year man was killed when an uprooted tree fell on him on Sunday reported, Skymet.

Authorities have suspended a nationwide school test, cancelled the holidays of officials posted in coastal districts and called off a traditional fair that draws tens of thousands of people in the Sundarbans.

Cyclone Bulbul brought torrential rains accompanied by strong winds over Kolkata in the last 24 hours. In the last two days, the city has received a whopping 104 mm of rain along with winds gusting up to 50-70 kmph, Skymet Weather reports.

Light to moderate rainfall at most places very likely, the IMD has issued a statement. The weather body further said that light to moderate rains are likely over coastal districts of West Bengal with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places over North and South 24 Parganas, East Medinipur and isolated heavy rainfall over West Medinipur, Howrah, Nadiya and Hooghly in the next 12 hours.

About 200 people have taken shelter at Sagar Pilot Station of Kolkata Port Trust. Villagers belonging to storm-stricken villages were served food by the Commander, pilots and staff, reported ANI.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also took stock of the situation in West Bengal and spoke to chief minister Mamata Banerjee about the situation in the state. The prime minister assured of 'all possible assistance by the centre".

Heavy rains likely in Hoogly, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram

Light to moderate rainfall is also likely at many places with isolated heavy rains very likely over South Assam and Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram in the next 36 hours, says IMD.

The Bangladesh Meteorological Department has asked local authorities and two ports to raise their highest alert, as the cyclone is set to unleash a storm surge as high as two metres (seven feet) in coastal districts, Al Jazeera reported.

According to reports by Dhaka Tribune, State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Dr Md Enamur Rahman has advised the people of 13 coastal districts to come to cyclone shelters by 2pm (local time).

After making landfall at a speed of 110 to 120 kmph between West Bengal’s Sagar Islands and Khepupara in Bangladesh on Sunday early in the morning, the severe cyclonic storm Bulbul is now likely to weaken gradually as it moves towards coastal Bangladesh and adjoining South and North 24 Parganas districts of Bengal, IMD has said.

NDRF, SDRF teams stationed in Bengal, Odisha for eventuality

The National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) had stationed a total of 34 teams in West Bengal and Odisha in view of the approaching severe cyclone Bulbul, a senior official told PTI. Seventeen teams each have been stationed in the two states and the NDRF is prepared to tackle any eventuality, NDRF Director General SN Pradhan said.

Besides six teams of State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) and 10 teams of NDRF deployed for the relief and rescue operations, the government has readied 1,335 civil defence personnel in case of any untoward incident. A total of 94 boats have also been deployed, a senior government official said.

An NDRF team has about 45 personnel. Pradhan said out of the total teams in Odisha, six have been deployed while the rest are in reserve. Similarly in West Bengal, 10 teams of the counter-disaster force have been deployed while the rest are on standby.

1.8 million evacuated from Bangladesh

Up to 1.8 million were expected to be evacuated by Saturday evening ahead of Cyclone Bulbul, Enamur Rahman, Bangladesh's junior disaster management minister, told The Associated Press.

More than 5,000 shelters had been prepared by Saturday morning. The cyclone was packing winds of up to 120 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 80 mph, but was forecast to weaken after crossing the coast.

It slammed ashore near Sagar Island and its path included the southwestern Khulna region, which has the world's largest mangrove forest, the Sundarbans, which straddles the Bangladesh-India border.

The weather office said coastal districts were likely to be inundated by storm surges of five to seven feet above normal tide because of the impact of the cyclone. Several ships from Bangladesh's navy and coast guard were kept ready in parts of the region for emergency response, the TV station Independent reported.

The storm is also expected to impact parts of northeastern India, where precautions were also being taken. According to US-based AccuWeather Inc, Bulbul strengthened from a deep depression into a tropical cyclone on Thursday morning, and by Friday afternoon had strengthened into a severe cyclone.

Bulbul was the equivalent of a Category 1 or 2 hurricane in the Atlantic, it said. Rahman said the government suspended weekend leave for government officials in 13 coastal districts on Saturday.

On Saturday, volunteers used loudspeakers to ask people to move to shelters in Chittagong and other regions, according to the Disaster Management Ministry. In the Cox's Bazar coastal district, tourists were alerted to stay in their hotels, while a few hundred visitors were stuck on Saint Martins Island.

Authorities suspended all activities in the country's main seaports, including in Chittagong, which handles almost 80 per cent of Bangladesh's exports and imports. All vessels and fishing boats were told to stop operating.

Local authorities ordered school buildings and mosques to be used as shelters in addition to dedicated cyclone shelters, raised concrete buildings that have been built over the past decades.

Bangladesh, a nation of 160 million people, has a history of violent cyclones. But disaster preparedness programs in recent decades have upgraded the country's capacity to deal with natural disasters, resulting in fewer casualties.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Nov 10, 2019 11:11:13 IST