Severe Cyclone Bulbul gusting at wind speeds of 135 km per hour made landfall near Sagar Islands in West Bengal at 9 pm today. Sagar Island is about 120 km south of Kolkata.
Cyclone Bulbul is then expected to turn north eastwards and veer off towards Khulna district in Bangladesh.
Close to 1.5 lakh people have been evacuated from West Bengal's low lying coastal areas that lie in the path of Cyclone Bulbul. Fishermen have been told not to go out to the sea.
Winds speeds may reach about 135 km per hour and that has forced the Airports Authority of India to close down Kolkata airport for 12 hours, starting 6 pm this evening. Dozens of flights have been cancelled.
In Kolkata, continuous rain since the afternoon and strong winds forced people to stay indoors. Roads are deserted and public transport scarce.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee visited a control room set up at the state secretariat to monitor the situation. She tweeted to ask people not to panic, to be alert and stay safe.
Please do not panic. Kindly remain calm and co-operate with the administration in its rescue and relief efforts. Be alert, take care and stay safe. #WBFightsCycloneBulbul (3/3)— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) November 9, 2019
Train services were normal throughout the day but may be affected since Cyclone Bulbul has made landfall. Control rooms have also been set up by the railways.
This is the second severe cyclone this year. In May, Cyclone Fani killed 12 people in Odisha and another 12 in neighbouring Bangladesh.