A tree lies uprooted because of the gusty winds in Bankura district of West Bengal. (Photo: PTI)
Cyclone Fani hit West Bengal post-midnight on Saturday, hours after making a landfall in Puri wreaking havoc in the coastal districts of Odisha. The worst cyclonic storm in decades, Fani uprooted trees and triggered rains as it entered West Bengal through Kharagpur. No loss of life or any injury has been reported so far. According to the Meteorological department, the extremely severe cyclonic storm relatively weakened after entering coastal Odisha and transformed into “very severe” as it approached Bengal. The cyclone has weakened and is heading towards Bangladesh.
“The severe cyclonic storm Fani entered Bengal at 12.30 am through Odisha’s Balasore. It crossed Kharagpur packing a wind of 70-80 kmph, gusting to 90 kmph,” Regional Meteorological Centre’s Deputy Director General Sanjib Bandyopadhyay, said as quoted by news agencies.
“It is likely to continue further in north, north east direction, and reach the east Burdwan-Hooghly border, and through Nadia go to Bangladesh on Saturday afternoon, weakening into a cyclonic storm, after having triggered rains,” Bandyopadhyay said. The storm is now lying close to Arambagh in Hooghly district, and is 40 km west of Kolkata.
SCS ‘FANI over Coastal Odisha at 2330 hrs IST of 03rd May, 2019 about 45 km north-northeast of Balasore (Odisha), 60 km southwest of Midnapore (West Bengal) and 140 km west-southwest of Kolkata . It is very likely to weaken into a cyclonic storm during next 12 hours. pic.twitter.com/cIxcNpKaNH— India Met. Dept. (@Indiametdept) May 3, 2019
Cyclone Fani lashed cities and towns in coastal Bengal including Digha, Mandarmani, Tajpur, Sandehskhali and Contai. Parts of Kolkata and the suburbs also received moderate to heavy rainfall since Friday afternoon. The effects of the storm could also be felt in cities like Kharagpur and Burdwan as trees were uprooted and metal hoardings collapsed. The districts of Nadia, Murshidabad where the cyclone passed through has experienced rainfall since Friday night with light winds.
The epicentre of the storm is expected to hit the city in the early on Saturday and rains are expected to continue till Saturday.
In the sea resort town of Digha, the win speed reached 70 kmph in some areas, in Frazerganj the wind velocity was between 60 and 70 kmph. “The rains will continue till early morning on Saturday, and the weather will start improving by evening,” he said.
The West Bengal electricity board disconnected power lines to prevent any untoward situation as the storm passed through the coastal districts. Flights from Kolkata airport is expected to resume at 8 am.