Cyclone Yaas began its almost four-hour-long landfall process at around 9.15 am south of Balasore district in Odisha, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
The weather department further predicted that the storm will turn into a ‘very severe cyclonic storm’ and is likely to make hit close to Dhamra Port (in Bhadrak district) and Balasore on the Odisha coast by Tuesday noon. Wind speeds of approximately 180-185 km per hour have been forecasted.
Additional Chief Secretary, Odisha, Pradeep Jena, tweeted, “The maximum impact will be in Balasore and Bhadrak districts. Wind speed will be about 100kmph in the Mayurbhanj district also. Pray to God to help people of the state.”
In Kolkata, Sanjib Banerjee, the Deputy Director-General of the Indian Meteorological Department at Alipore, said that, “Yaas currently lays centred about 50km south-southeast of Balasore”
Many coastal areas of Digha, East Midnapore and Sagar Island in South 24-Parganas were flooded. At New Digha Beach, seawater entered residential areas as people were seen wading through knee-deep water on roads along the marine drive. Viral videos showed scary scenes as gusty winds tore through trees and colonies, bringing with them lashes of torrential rain.
The famous Kapil Muni ashram at Sagar Island in South 24-Parganas was completely inundated. Rescue teams of various units were seen struggling with strong winds and tidal waves to execute their tasks.
Addressing a press conference at the state secretariat ‘Nabanna’, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, “We fear that the extent of damage could be more in East Midnapore district. We have already evacuated nearly 3.8 lakhs people from low lying and vulnerable areas in East Midnapore. So far, more than 11.30 lakhs people have been evacuated across the state in view of the impending Cyclone Yaas. More than 20,000 houses and around 51 mud embankments were completely damaged.”
Banerjee who is stationed at the ‘Cyclone control room’ at the State secretariat since last night assured all the citizens and urged them to maintain safety norms. She has instructed district officials to start pre and post Cyclone relief assistance to the needy and affected people.
Meanwhile, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata has been closed for operations from 8.30 am to 7.45 pm and no flights will be operating to or from Kolkata today as precautionary measures.