Cyclone brings rain rage

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT in Calcutta
  • Published 27.10.08
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Calcutta, Oct. 26: A cyclone called Rashmi is inching towards coastal Bengal, carrying with it the threat of heavy rain in Calcutta though the city does not fall in the storm’s path projected till late this evening.

The Met office said a deep depression over west-central Bay of Bengal, which caused Saturday’s rain, had intensified into a cyclone and was headed for the Bengal-Bangladesh coast near Sagar Island.

Cyclone Rashmi, rated in the low-intensity Category 1 till this evening, is expected to make landfall between 8 and 9.30am on Monday.

“The cyclone now lies about 350km south of Calcutta and is expected to hit the Bengal-Bangladesh coast on Monday morning. The cyclone has been named Rashmi,” said G.C. Debnath, the director of the weather section at the Regional Meteorological Centre in Alipore.

Met officials said gusty winds at speeds between 60 and 80kmph were expected along the Bengal coast, along “with heavy to very heavy rain” on Monday. Officials also warned of heavy rain in Calcutta.

“We expect sea waves to surge as high as two metres along the coast of South 24-Parganas and adjoining East Midnapore,” an official said.

The officials said tonight that the cyclone was proceeding in a north north-eastern direction and was expected to move into Bangladesh soon after hitting land.

“Calcutta is not in the path of the cyclone. But it will cause rains in the city. We are keeping a close watch on the movement of the cyclone,” an official said. But he added that since 350 kilometres lay between the cyclone and land, a shift in course could not be ruled out.

The district magistrates of East Midnapore, South 24-Parganas, North 24-Parganas and West Midnapore have been asked to take precautionary measures, finance minister Asim Dasgupta said.

The officials, however, held out the hope that the weather might improve on Kali Puja on Tuesday.

“Once the cyclone hits land, it might weaken and weather on Kali Puja might improve,” an official said.

Almost a year ago, Calcutta had a close shave with another — and far more powerful — cyclone. On November 15 last year, Cyclone Sidr had formed in the Bay of Bengal and was designated a Category 4 cyclone, one notch below the highest category of 5. But it grazed past Calcutta and hit Bangladesh.