Cyclone Amphan which is pronounced as Um-pun made landfall In Odisha and West Bengal on May 20. According to reports, the super cyclonic storm entered Indian shores near Sagar Islands between Digha, some 180 odd km south of Kolkata in West Bengal and Hatia in Bangladesh.
Cyclone Amphan makes landfall on Indian shores
According to the Regional Meteorological Centre in Kolkata, Amphan made landfall somewhere around 2:30 pm near Sagar islands and continued till early evening around 7 pm as the storm began moving inland. In addition to this, the eye of the cyclone is more than 30 km in diameter.
After making a landfall, wind speeds were clocked at 150-190 km per hour in the coastal areas. According to reports, Kolkata clocked wind speeds of more than 100 km per hour. Kolkata witnessed strong winds overturn cars. Media outlets showcased trees and electricity poles getting uprooted.
According to reports, heavy downpour was recorded in all districts in south Bengal. It is said that cyclone Amphan is deadlier than Cyclone Aila (2009) and Cyclone Bulbul (2019). In addition to this, North and South 24 Parganas were the worst hit and it was predicted that these coastal areas could record a storm surge to be four to five metres more than the astronomical tide level. This might submerge areas within a range of 15 km.
As per the Indian Meteorological Department, heavy rainfall was recorded in Bhadrak, Puri, Khurda, Cuttack, Balasore districts of Odisha since May 19.
According to reports, the high intensity cyclonic storm will be present over Gangetic West Bengal till the morning of May 21.
India and Bangladesh evacuate millions to safety
Indian Meteorological department (IMD) reported that over 5 lakh people were evacuated in West Bengal and more than one lakh in Odisha. Bangladesh reportedly evacuated more than 2 million people to safety. Over a million Rohingya refugees stay in Cox Bazar, Bangladesh and it makes them one of the most vulnerable communities to the storm.
Amphan is the second pre-monsoon cyclone to make a landfall in India in the past two years.
However, this cyclone has caused a hindrance for authorities involved in relief efforts amid a growing coronavirus outbreak. India already has a shortage of dedicated cyclone shelters as many are being converted into COVID-19 isolation wards.
It comes as a challenge for authorities at a time when restrictions and norms for social distancing are in place to curb the COVID-19 outbreak. The situation will be continuously monitored as mass evacuations could also lead to a steep rise in confirmed number of COVID-19 cases.
Post Landfall in India
According to reports, cyclone Amphan is expected to progress towards the North and Northeast. It will then move across Gangetic West Bengal and Bangladesh and may gradually weaken. In addition to this, the intensity of the cyclone will be very high till the morning of May 21 and may weaken over Bangladesh.
The second super cyclone over Bay of Bengal
Amphan is the only second super cyclone to form in the Northeast Indian ocean over Bay of Bengal in a little over two decades. The first super cyclone was recorded over Bay of Bengal in 1999. It wrecked the state of Odisha by claiming more than 10,000 lives and rendered around 20 lakh people homeless. It also left large patches of agricultural land unfit for the purpose of cultivation due to salinity. According to reports, waves were recorded as high as 40 feet.
As per reports, Cyclone Amphan is currently over Bangladesh and poses no high intensity threat to West Bengal and Odisha. The cyclone has weakened into a cyclonic storm and is about 270 km north east of Kolkata.
Curated by Ruchit Rastogi