Cyclone Amphan gathered strength and intensified into a severe cyclonic storm over the Bay of Bengal on Sunday, raising the likelihood of heavy rainfall coupled with high-velocity wind in several coastal districts of Odisha and parts of West Bengal, officials said.
According to a bulletin issued by the weather office at 2 pm, Amphan is likely to intensify into a very severe cyclonic storm in the next 24 hours.
The cyclone is likely to cross West Bengal-Bangladesh coasts between Sagar Islands in West Bengal and Hatiya islands in Bangladesh between afternoon and evening of May 20 as a very severe cyclonic storm, Regional MeT Director in Kolkata G K Das said.
As a result of the forecast, fishermen have been warned not to venture into south Bay of Bengal during the next 24 hours, to central Bay of Bengal on May 17 and 18 and North Bay of Bengal from May 18 to 20. Seventeen teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed in Odisha and West Bengal in view of the approaching cyclone, the chief of the force said on Sunday.
NDRF Director General S N Pradhan said in a video message that the federal contingency force is "watching the situation closely from the headquarters and we are in touch with state governments, the Indian Meteorological Department and all stakeholder agencies".
Pradhan said seven teams of the force have been deployed in West Bengal. These teams are in six districts -- South 24 Parganas, North 24 Parganas, East Midnapore, West Midnapore, Howrah and Hooghly. In Odisha, 10 teams have been deployed in seven districts -- Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Jajpur, Bhadrak, Balasore and Mayurbhanj.
Cyclonic storm 'Amphan' (pronounced as UM-PUN) is moving over southeast Bay of Bengal and neighbourhood and has been turning north-northwestwards with a speed of six kmph over past six hours, the home ministry said on Sunday.
Heavy to extremely heavy rainfall, accompanied by high speed winds and tidal waves, are expected in the region due to Cyclone 'Amphan'.