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Cyclone Remal to hit Bengal on Sunday, Kolkata airport to suspend flights

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
Last updated on: May 25, 2024 22:23 IST
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A deep depression over the Bay of Bengal intensified into a cyclonic storm, named Remal, on Saturday evening and is likely to turn severe before making landfall between the coasts of West Bengal and Bangladesh on Sunday midnight, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

IMAGE: Kolkata police alert people of the impending Cyclone Remal, at Nimtala ghat in Kolkata on Saturday, May 25, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo

Named by Oman, Remal, meaning sand in Arabic, is the first cyclone over the Bay of Bengal in this pre-monsoon season.

The weather system, moving at a speed of 12 kmph over the east-central Bay of Bengal, was 350 km south-southeast of Sagar Island in West Bengal at 5.30 pm on Saturday, the IMD said.


Moving in a northward direction, it is likely to concentrate further into a severe cyclonic storm by Sunday morning and cross West Bengal and adjoining Bangladesh coasts between Sagar Island and Khepupara with a wind speed of 110 to 120 kmph, gusting to 135 kmph, by midnight of Sunday.

The IMD warned of extremely heavy rainfall in the coastal districts of West Bengal and heavy to very heavy rainfall in north Odisha on Sunday and Monday owing to the weather system.

The authorities of Kolkata airport have decided to suspend flight operations for 21 hours from Sunday noon in view of the cyclone, an official said.

The precautionary measure was taken after a meeting of the stakeholders of the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International (NSCBI) Airport in Kolkata on Saturday.

'In view of cyclone Remal's impact on the coastal region of West Bengal, including Kolkata, a meeting was held with the stakeholders and it has been decided to suspend flight operations from 1200 IST on May 26 to 0900 IST on May 27 due to predicted heavy winds and heavy to very heavy rainfall in Kolkata,' NSCBI airport director C Pattabhi said in a statement.

Extremely heavy precipitation is also likely in Assam and Meghalaya, and heavy to very heavy rains in the other northeastern states of Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura on Monday and Tuesday.

Storm surge of up to 1.5 metre is expected to inundate low-lying areas of coastal West Bengal and Bangladesh at the time of landfall.

The IMD warned fishermen not to venture into the sea in the north Bay of Bengal till Monday morning.

A red alert was issued for West Bengal's coastal districts of South and North 24 Parganas and Purba Medinipur, and also for adjoining Kolkata, Howrah and Hooghly, where extremely heavy rain is likely on Sunday and Monday.

The South and North 24 Parganas are likely to witness the most impact of the cyclone with wind speeds reaching 110 to 120 kmph, gusting to 130 kmph, while the other districts are likely to experience wind speeds of 70 to 80 kmph, gusting to 90 kmph.

The IMD warned of localised flooding and major damage to vulnerable structures, power and communication lines, kutcha roads and crops in South and North 24 Parganas districts of West Bengal.

An orange alert will thereafter be in force in these districts till Tuesday morning, except in Purba Medinipur, it said.

The rest of the districts in southern West Bengal will experience wind speeds of 40 to 50 kmph, gusting to 60 kmph, it added.

In north Odisha, the coastal districts of Balasore, Bhadrak and Kendrapara will receive heavy rain on Sunday and Monday.

People in the affected areas have been asked to remain indoors and vacate vulnerable structures.

The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) said it has taken all pre-emptive measures to ensure there is no loss of life or property at sea.

ICG's remote operating stations at Haldia and Paradip are alerting fishing vessels and merchant ships through VHF (very high frequency) broadcasts, a statement said.

"Bangladesh Coast Guard authorities have been informed for instituting needful preparation for a collective response to the developing situation," it said.

The ICG said its ships and aircraft are kept at immediate notice to undertake search and rescue missions.

Nine disaster relief teams are kept on standby at Haldia and Fraserganj in West Bengal, and Paradip and Gopalpur in Odisha, it said.

The Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port in Kolkata said that it will suspend all cargo and container handling operations for 12 hours from 6 pm on Sunday till 6 am on Monday in view of the cyclone.

The decision was taken for the safety of dock workers, officials said.

Port chairperson Rathendra Raman held a meeting on Saturday to oversee the preparedness for dealing with the impact of the possible cyclone.

At the meeting with port officials, he emphasised on proactive measures and inter-departmental cooperation.

Railway operations in the port area will also be suspended during that time, officials said.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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