Bulbul landfall tonight: Met
Bulbul is tipped to hit the Indian Sunderbans and the Bangladesh coast as a severe cyclonic storm on Saturday night, not on Sunday afternoon as predicted by the Met department earlier. Metro gives an update on the storm
Around 2.30pm on Friday, the storm was over the west-central Bay of Bengal, 500km south of Calcutta. It was still a very severe cyclonic storm with a windspeed of over 130kmph.
The system was moving north at a speed of 17kmph, a couple of notches up from the speed 24 hours ago, prompting the Met department to bring forward the expected time of landfall.
Bulbul is expected to hit Khepupara in Bangladesh and Sagar islands in the Sunderbans in Bengal, around 150km from Calcutta, between 8pm and midnight on Saturday, said a Met official. It will keep losing steam while it journeys over the land.
Impact on Calcutta
Friday saw light but persistent rain. The sky was overcast since morning and the showers started before noon. The city is likely to get heavy to very heavy rain (60mm to 200mm over 24 hours) on Saturday. The intensity of rain will increase as the system nears Bengal, generating gusts of wind clocking upwards of 100kmph.
In Calcutta, the windspeed is likely to vary between 40 and 60kmph on Saturday. Light to moderate rain is expected on Sunday.
- The pumping stations in the city are on high alert. The Calcutta Municipal Corporation is keeping an eye on low-lying areas so that emergency measures, if needed, can be taken. The CMC control room number is 22861212/1313/1414
- The airport will not be closed on Saturday, unlike it was on May 3 when Cyclone Fani was tipped to make landfall. A meeting was held at the airport to discuss the preparedness. “Operations could be affected if strong crosswinds (above 30 nautical miles per hour or 55kmph) start blowing. Flights find it difficult to land amid strong crosswinds,” said an official.
- Nabanna has opened a control room: 22143526. The district administrations of South and North 24-Parganas, East Midnapore and Hooghly are on high alert.
- Seventeen teams of the National Disaster Response Force have been deployed in various districts.
The city is transitioning from the monsoon to winter. The past few days were sunny and the moisture content in the air was on the lower side. Dry cool winds started blowing from northern parts of the country. The Celsius dipped two notches on Thursday.
“A low-pressure area created over the Bay of Bengal under the influence of Bulbul was drawing winds from the north over the past few days,” a Met official said.
All state-aided schools in Calcutta, North and South 24-Parganas, East and West Midnapore, Howrah and Jhargram districts will remain closed on Saturday, the school education department said.
Gerry Arathoon, secretary and chief executive of Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations, said most ICSE schools remain closed on Saturdays.