The weather department has predicted heavy rain and strong winds in West Bengal and the Northeast as cyclonic storm ‘Sitrang’ intensifies and moves towards Bangladesh.
An Indian Air Force (IAF) plane carrying 69 personnel from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) landed in Agartala today. A total of 119 NDRF personnel will be deployed in Tripura to counter any likely fallout from the cyclone.
At 11.30am today, the cyclone lay centred around 300km south and southeast of Sagar Island in Bengal, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
According to IMD, the cyclone is likely to intensify into a severe cyclonic storm and cross the Bangladesh coast between Tinkona Island and Sandwip, close to Barisal, in the early hours tomorrow.
The weather department has issued an advisory, warning against offshore activities in Bengal’s coastal districts today and tomorrow. These districts are North and South 24 Parganas and Purba Medinipur.
“Due to the cyclonic storm over West Central Bay of Bengal and adjoining East Central Bay of Bengal and its likely intensification into a severe cyclonic storm, fishermen are advised not to venture into the sea till 25th October 2022,” the IMD statement said.
The weather department’s advisory predicted major damage to thatched huts, minor impact on roads and waterlogging in the affected areas.
The administration has deployed civil security forces to protect the river banks of South 24 Parganas and is also making arrangements to move people along the river banks to safer areas.
The weather department has also predicted heavy rain and strong winds in the north-east region.
Tripura is likely to be the worst-affected, with maximum rainfall expected up to 200 mm in 24 hours, the IMD has said.
A “red alert” has been issued for Tripura, Meghalaya and Assam, and an “orange alert” for Mizoram, Nagaland, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh. Winds will gust up to 60km/hr in Tripura and Mizoram, the weather office said.
The Tripura government has ordered all educational institutions to remain shut till October 26 and allowed all government employees to work from home, except those in emergency services.
According to IMD’s Regional Meteorological Centre in Guwahati, squally winds reaching speeds of 40-50km/hr and gusting to 60km/hr are likely over Mizoram and Tripura today.
It further cautioned that wind speed reaching 50-60km/hr and gusting to 70km/hr is likely over Tripura tomorrow. Mizoram, the southern part of Assam and adjoining east Meghalaya and Manipur are likely to experience winds upto 55km/hr and gusting to 65km/hr tomorrow.