Heavy rain and strong wind battered Kolkata in West Bengal, and districts in coastal Odisha as the super cyclone Amphan hurtled West Bengal coast for landfall. The landfall is expected to take place between May 20 afternoon and evening near the Sundarbans.

Parts of Odisha saw extensive damage as trees  were uprooted and power infrastructure damaged due to strong wind.

Here are the latest updates:

Amid chaos of cyclone Amphan in Odisha, woman gives birth to baby in fire service van

A woman gave birth to a baby girl inside a fire service van while being shifted to hospital in Odisha’s Kendrapara district, which recorded heavy and strong winds under the impact of super cyclone ‘Amphan’ on Wednesday morning

The dramatic scenes of the woman being rescued, clearing of a road that was blocked by fallen trees and admission of the mother and baby in a hospital were shot by Odisha fire service personnel, who played a key role in the rescue act.

About 4.5 lakh people evacuated from Odisha, WB

About 4.5 lakh people have been evacuated from vulnerable area in West Bengal and Odisha ahead of the landfall of cyclonic storm ‘Amphan’, NDRF chief S.N. Pradhan said on Wednesday.

Issuing a video message update, the chief of the the federal contingency force said rescue forces and administration are concerned and geared to tackle a storm surge or tidal waves up to 4-6 metres high as it is a new moon night or ‘amavasya’.

As per data received from the state governments, he added, about 1.20-1.25 lakh people have been evacuated in Odisha and about 3.30 lakh in West Bengal in view of the cyclone.

Amphan to make landfall in hours, remain over gangetic WB till Thursday morning

Super cyclone Amphan is likely to make a landfall along the West Bengal coast in the next few hours, officials of Regional Meteorological Centre at Alipore said on Wednesday.

“The landfall of the cyclonic storm is likely to be in afternoon evening close to the Sunderbans. After landfall it will move north and north east direction and will pass over eastern parts of Kolkata,” Sanjib Bandyopadhyay, Deputy Director General of Meteorology Regional Meteorological Centre in Alipore, said.

He said that after the landfall the cyclonic storm will remain over gangetic West Bengal in different intensities till Thursday morning.

Kolkata witnessed heavy and continuous downpour since Wednesday afternoon. Streets remain deserted as annoucements continue to be made requesting people to stay indoors.

Landfall to commence from afternoon

Cyclone Amphan is 125 km south-southeast of Digha in West Bengal, according to the latest update from IMD at 11.30 a.m.

It is expected to cross West Bengal-Bangladesh coasts between Digha in West Bengal and Hatiya Islands in Bangladesh, close to Sunderbans.

The landfall process will commence from afternoon, said the update.

SUCS AMPHAN about 125 km south-southeast of Digha (West Bengal) at 1130 IST of 20th May. To cross West Bengal-Bangladesh coasts between Digha (west Bengal) and Hatiya Islands (Bangladesh) close to Sunderbans. Landfall process to commence from afternoon. pic.twitter.com/ltVuRK5tBM

— India Met. Dept. (@Indiametdept) May 20, 2020

Heavy downpour, high velocity winds pound Odisha

As cyclone “Amphan” hurtled towards the coast, heavy downpour coupled with high velocity winds pounded coastal Odisha, uprooting trees and flattening fragile structures, officials said on Wednesday.

More than 1.25 lakh people have so far been evacuated from low-lying coastal areas and the process of evacuation was still underway in some places like Balasore on Wednesday morning, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC), P.K. Jena, said.

Water rises in Baitarani river due to high tide as cyclone Amphan approaches Odisha-Bengal coast

Water rises in Baitarani river due to high tide as cyclone Amphan approaches Odisha-Bengal coast
 
| Photo Credit: Biswaranjan Rout

Amphan likely to bring isolated rain to coastal A.P.

Even as the super cyclonic storm Amphan spared the State, coastal Andhra Pradesh and Yanam are likely to experience isolated heavy falls under its influence during the next 24 hours, the meteorology officials said on Tuesday.

The weather system over the Bay of Bengal moved north-east wards and lay centred as an extremely severe cyclonic storm 360 km off Paradip in Odisha and 510 km off Digha in West Bengal on Tuesday.

Rapid response teams to keep eye on tiger movement in Sundarbans

With cyclone ‘Amphan’ set to lash the coastal areas of West Bengal on Wednesday, the State Forest department on Tuesday formed rapid response teams to ensure that tigers from Sundarbans in South 24 Parganas district do not stray into nearby human settlements after the landfall.

Chief Wildlife Warden Ravi Kant Sinha said a control room had been set up at Gosaba in the district to monitor the situation in the mangrove jungles 24×7.

Though a thorough assessment of damage caused by the cyclone is to be made, there are reports of many trees being uprooted from different areas of Odisha.

Trees were uprooted in the heavy winds as cyclone Amphan hits the coast near Chandabali in Bhadrak district of Odisha

Trees were uprooted in the heavy winds as cyclone Amphan hits the coast near Chandabali in Bhadrak district of Odisha
 
| Photo Credit: Biswaranjan Raut

Cargo flight operations at Kolkata Airport suspended till 5 a.m. Thursday

Cargo and evacuation flight operations at the Kolkata airport have been suspended till 5 am of Thursday due to the cyclonic storm ‘Amphan’, airport officials said.

“Due to the cyclone, flight operations at Kolkata airport has been suspended till 5 am of May 21,” a senior airport official said.

The cyclone lay centred about 240 km south of Digha in West Bengal on Wednesday morning as an extremely severe cyclonic storm, the Met department said here.

Howrah-New Delhi AC Special Express cancelled

The departure of Howrah-New Delhi AC Special Express for Wednesday has been cancelled owing to the super cyclone ‘Amphan’, the Eastern Railway said here.

It said that since the system is most likely to cause heavy rain and storm, the departure of 02301 Howrah-New Delhi AC Special Express on Wednesday and 02302 New Delhi-Howrah AC Special Express on May 21 would remain cancelled.

The Met department in an advisory asked for stoppage or diversion of train movements owing to damage likely to be caused by the super cyclonic storm. – PTI

Did the coronavirus lockdown have an impact on the cyclone?

Higher than normal temperatures in the Bay of Bengal (BoB) may be whetting ‘super cyclones’ and the lockdown, indirectly, may have played a role, meteorologists and atmospheric science experts told The Hindu.

A researcher said the elevated ocean temperatures this year could, in part, be explained by the lockdown. Reduced particulate matter emissions during the lockdown meant fewer aerosols, such as black carbon, that are known to reflect sunlight and heat away from the surface.

Migrant trains to Bengal, Odisha cancelled in view of cyclone

As a precautionary measure in the backdrop of ‘Amphan’ cyclone, the Maharashtra government on Tuesday announced that three Shramik Special trains for West Bengal and Odisha have been cancelled till May 21.

These trains were to carry migrant workers to West Bengal and Odisha. Further announcement regarding running these trains will be taken after assessing the weather and other necessary conditions, said an official.

– PTI

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