Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday held a meeting with officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to review the situation arising out of Cyclone Amphan in different parts of the country. Union Home Minister Amit Shah was also present.
"Amphan" (pronounced UM-PN) had turned into an extremely severe cyclonic storm and gathered more strength over the Bay of Bengal while moving slowly towards the coast. It has now intensified further into a super cyclonic storm, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
It is likely to move north-northeastwards and fast across the northwest Bay of Bengal, and cross the West Bengal and Bangladesh coasts between Digha and the Hatia island as a very severe cyclonic storm, the department said.
This has raised the likelihood of heavy rains and high-velocity winds in coastal Odisha and the state government has initiated the process of evacuating people from the vulnerable areas. Fishermen have been advised not to venture into the sea till May 21, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) PK Jena said.
Ten National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), 17 Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) and additional fire service teams have been pressed into service in six districts of Kendrapada, Jagatsingpur, Jajpur, Bhadrak, Balasore and Mayurbhanj as they are likely to be hit by Cyclone Amphan. The Odisha DGP reviewed the preparation in Balasore and Bhadrak districts.
As Cyclone Amphan approaches the Indian coast, its effect could be seen in West Bengal, Odisha and the southern regions early on Monday. A yellow alert has been issued in Karnataka's Mangalore after heavy rains lashed the city, inundating some of its areas. In Telangana, the storm pushed back a bus, forcing it to hit a tree after being dragged a few meters.
According to officials, heavy rains were witnessed in parts of Coastal Karnataka, Malnad and the south interior region. The Met department has predicted rainfall for three more days.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has warned that the storm is set to intensify into a "super cyclone storm" in the next 12 hours.
"Cyclone Amphan in Bay of Bengal, intensified into an extremely severe cyclonic storm at 2:30 am today. It is expected to further intensify into a super cyclonic storm in the next 12 hours:," IMD director general Mrutyunjaya Mohapatra said.
"It is very likely to intensify further during next six hours. It is very likely to move north-northeastwards and move fast across northwest Bay of Bengal and cross West Bengal–Bangladesh coasts between Digha (West Bengal) and Hatiya Islands (Bangladesh) during the afternoon/evening of May 20," the IMD said.
Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm ‘AMPHAN’ with Eye Pattern: 18th May 2020 (0730 to 0750 IST) pic.twitter.com/GAhQO3tGTz— India Met. Dept. (@Indiametdept) May 18, 2020
VSCS ‘AMPHAN’ over central parts of South BoB near latitude 12.0°N and longitude 86.0°E, about 930 km south of Paradip (Odisha). To intensify further into an ESCS during next 24 hours. To cross WB, Bangladesh coasts btw Digha (WB) & Hatiya in evng of 20th May as VSCS. pic.twitter.com/JYRzURrPut— India Met. Dept. (@Indiametdept) May 17, 2020
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 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.
The Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KDSMA) issued an update around 8am on Monday, saying that thunderstorm with wind speed of 40Kmph in gusts "accompanied by moderate rainfall at one or two places in Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Kannur and Kasaragod districts and Minicoy island In Lakashadweep".
The IMD in its latest tweet said: Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm ‘AMPHAN’ (pronounced as UM-PUN) over west-central & adjoining central parts of South BoB: Cyclone Warning for West Bengal and north Odisha coasts. To intensify further as SuCS.
The effects of the cyclone could also be seen in Telangana's Khammam too where the storm was seen pushing back a bus.
The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) on Saturday reviewed the preparedness for the impending cyclone and directed immediate assistance to West Bengal and Odisha.