Super cyclone Amphan, which is likely to weaken into an extremely severe cyclonic storm, can cause extensive damage when it hits the Indian coast on Wednesday. In a statement, the Indian Meteorological Department has warned of flying objects, uprooting of electricity poles and boats getting torn away.
The department says a storm surge of a height of about four-six metres above the astronomical tide will inundate the low-lying coastal areas in Bengal. The cyclone is likely to hit Bengal by tomorrow evening.
Wind speeds of up to 175 kph and gusts of 195 kph will make Amphan one of the biggest storms to come off the Indian Ocean in recent years.
The cyclone would bring "heavy rain and high-velocity winds" to coastal West Bengal and Odisha. People have been urged to stay indoors and fishermen have been warned.
The met department has warned of major damage to infrastructure:
- Extensive damage to houses, mainly to kutcha ones
- Potential threat from flying objects
- Extensive uprooting of communication and power poles
- Disruption of rail and road link at several places
- Extensive damage to standing crop, plantations, orchards
- Uprooting of large trees, damage to palm and coconut trees
- Large boats and ships getting torn from their moorings
- Disruption of railways, overhead power lines and signaling systems
Both the states have been advised to suspend or divert rail and road traffic.
On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had chaired a high-level meeting to review the response measures and preparedness to tackle the storm. The meeting was attended by Home Minister Amit Shah, Principal Advisor to the Prime Minister, PK Sinha, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba and other senior officers.
"Reviewed the preparedness regarding the situation due to cyclone 'Amphan.' The response measures as well as evacuation plans were discussed. I pray for everyone's safety and assure all possible support from the Central Government," PM Modi tweeted after the meeting.
This morning, Union Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik and offered the centre's support to deal with the situation.