Regional News

Cyclone Bulbul to make landfall tonight, Kolkata airport suspends flight ops

The Kolkata airport on Saturday announced suspension of flight operations from 6pm Saturday till 6 am Sunday as a precautionary measure as ‘very severe’ cyclonic storm Bulbul approaches West Bengal and is expected to make landfall tonight, Home Ministry officials said.

Bulbul is likely to hit the Sunderban delta along the India-Bangladesh border on Saturday night with a wind speed of up to 135 km an hour, said India Meteorological Department (IMD) officials. The cyclone will then lose some of its strength and become a ‘severe’ cyclonic storm.

The IMD has said that north coastal districts of Odisha and coastal districts of West Bengal would receive light to moderate rainfall with heavy to very heavy rainfall in some areas.

Sea condition would be very rough and a storm surge of 1 – 1.5 metres is likely to inundate many low lying areas in the coastal areas of West Bengal during the cyclone’s landfall. While fishermen have been advised not to venture into the sea, the IMD said that the storm could damage mud houses, break branches of trees and snap power lines. The governments of both states have been asked to restrict beach activities.

In West Bengal, the authorities have already started advising people and fishermen in coastal areas not to go near beaches and venture into the sea. Watch towers are being constructed and warning messages are being spread through loudspeakers.

The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), the country’s apex body to handle any emergency, on Saturday reviewed the preparedness to deal with the cyclone.

The meeting of the NCMC, headed by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, was informed by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) that the cyclone has now intensified and is likely to cross the West Bengal coast by Saturday evening.

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