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Cyclone Remal To Hit West Bengal’s Sagar On May 26; Coastal Areas Of Bengal, Odisha On High Alert

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The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a forecast indicating that the depression in the Bay of Bengal is likely to intensify into a severe cyclonic storm, expected to make landfall between Sagar Island in West Bengal and Khepupara in Bangladesh around midnight on May 26. Currently situated over the west-central and adjoining south Bay of Bengal, the low-pressure system is expected to develop into a cyclonic storm by the morning of May 25 and approach the coasts of Bangladesh and adjoining West Bengal as a severe cyclonic storm by the evening of May 26. If formed, the cyclone will be named ‘Remal,’ meaning ‘sand’ in Arabic, marking the first cyclone in the Bay of Bengal this pre-monsoon season.

As of now, the cyclonic system is located 380 km south of West Bengal’s Canning, and it is set to bring heavy rainfall to coastal areas. The IMD’s May 24 bulletin stated that the system is expected to move north-northeastwards, intensifying into a Cyclonic Storm over the east-central Bay of Bengal by May 25 morning, and further into a Severe Cyclonic Storm by the night of May 25. It is likely to cross between Sagar Island and Khepupara around midnight on May 26.

The IMD has warned of rough to very rough sea conditions over the North Bay of Bengal starting May 24 evening, escalating to high over the central Bay of Bengal from the morning of May 25, and high to very high over the North Bay of Bengal from the evening of May 25 until the morning of May 27. Rough sea conditions are also expected along the Odisha coast starting May 25 evening.

Fishermen have been advised to avoid venturing into the South Bay of Bengal until May 24, the Central Bay of Bengal until May 26, and the North Bay of Bengal from May 24 to the morning of May 27. Those already at sea have been urged to return to land.

Areas to Be Affected

The coastal districts of West Bengal are expected to experience heavy to very heavy rainfall on May 26 and 27. Kolkata, South and North 24 Parganas, Purba Medinipur, and Howrah districts will also see significant rainfall. South 24 Parganas may face gusty winds reaching 90-100 kmph, Purba Medinipur 80-90 kmph, and Kolkata, North 24 Parganas, and Howrah 60-70 kmph.

Odisha will see light to moderate rain and thundershowers from May 25, with specific rainfall predictions for Balasore, Bhadrak, and Kendrapara on May 26, and Balasore, Bhadrak, and Mayurbhanj on May 27. Isolated places in Balasore have been issued a yellow warning for heavy to very heavy rainfall on May 26, with heavy rainfall expected in Bhadrak and Kendrapara. Mayurbhanj, Balasore, and Bhadrak districts will receive heavy rainfall on May 27.

The Odisha government has instructed authorities in four districts to initiate preparatory measures due to the potential for the depression to intensify into a severe cyclonic storm.

According to the Ministry of Defence, “9 disaster relief teams have been positioned at strategic locations including Haldia, Paradip, Gopalpur, and Frazerganj, ready to provide immediate assistance in the event of an emergency.” The ICG’s Remote Operating Stations at Haldia and Paradip are issuing regular multilingual Very High Frequency alerts to mariners, and ICG ships and aircraft are conducting surveillance along the projected path of the storm. The ICG has also notified the Bangladesh Coast Guard and urged necessary preparations and alerts for fishermen and merchant marine vessels.

The IMD’s May 24 bulletin warns of potential damage to thatched houses and huts, breaking of tree branches, uprooting of trees, and significant damage to banana and papaya trees. Power and communication lines may be disrupted, and there may be damage to paddy crops, horticultural crops, and orchards. Traffic disruptions due to waterlogging and squally winds are also expected.

In a May 24 update, the IMD reported that the depression over the Bay of Bengal was moving at a speed of 20 kmph.

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