Bhubaneswar: Less than a week after powerful Cyclone Tauktae battered the west coast of India, a low-pressure system is brewing over the Bay of Bengal and is set to intensify into a powerful cyclone. Eastern states of Odisha and West Bengal are likely to face the brunt of the upcoming storm next week as the storm is expected to make landfall by May 26.
As per the early forecasts by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the low-pressure area is likely to develop over the north Andaman Sea and the adjoining east-central Bay of Bengal around May 22 and its gradual intensification into a cyclonic storm by May 24. IMD has also confirmed the possibility of its formation and has forecast intensification into a cyclone by May 26.
Under its impact, coastal Odisha especially the northern part of the State's coastline might start to experience rain from May 25 with a significant increase in intensity and also spatial extension subsequently.
This apart, squally wind speed reaching 45-55 kmph gusting to 65 kmph is likely to prevail over Andaman Sea and adjoining east-central Bay of Bengal on May 23. It is very likely to increase becoming 50-60 kmph gusting to 70 kmph from 23rd May and further becoming gale wind speed 65 to 75 gusting to 85 kmph from 24th May over major parts of central Bay of Bengal and would increase gradually till May 25, 2021.
Fishermen have been asked not to venture into deep sea area of central Bay of Bengal from May 23-25 and into north Bay of Bengal along and off Odisha coast from May 24-27, 2021.
According to IMD sources, the probable intensity of the cyclone can only be ascertained on May 22 while its track and place of landfall can be predicted on May 23. But the models predict that north Odisha districts are likely to get more affected by the storm.
“The cyclone is likely to move in north-westward direction and make landfall in the coast between Odisha and West Bengal in the morning hours of May 26. Since the system is yet to develop, its exact track and time of landfall and maximum intensity cannot be predicted right now. The IMD would continue to monitor the system and subsequently inform on more updates," said IMD Director General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra.
Meanwhile, to assess the preparedness for the possible cyclone SRC Pradeep Jena held a high-level meeting with the Secretaries of all departments of the State government and IMD officials.
Jena held a video conference meet with Collectors of 10 districts, police, Fire Services, ODRAF and NDRF officials. He advised them to initiate preparedness like shelter identification, staff deployment, training, facilities check, infrastructure check, evacuation planning for the possible cyclone that might hit the coast between Odisha and West Bengal on May 26.
He also directed all the departments to remain ready to tackle the emergency with necessary manpower and machinery.
“Based on the preliminary information by IMD, Odisha government has initiated the preparedness. In the district level, shelters identification, staff deployment, training, facilities check, infrastructure check, evacuation planning works have been looked into,” said Jena.
“Since Odisha is already struggling with the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic, the preparedness for cyclone needs extra efforts to ensure that all the COVID protocols are adhered to,” he added.