Authorities have begun to evacuate hundreds of thousands of people in coastal areas of Odisha and West Bengal states on Tuesday, May 19, due to the threat posed by the approaching Cyclone Amphan. Dozens of relief teams have been deployed to these areas to aid with evacuations and preparations for the storm. An unspecified number of people were evacuated from coastal areas in Odisha, including Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadarak, and Balasore districts. In West Bengal, 40,000 people have already been evacuated from South 24 Parganas district, and authorities are preparing to evacuate as many as 1.1 to 1.2 million people from coastal districts. The evacuations are expected to carry on throughout Tuesday and into Wednesday morning.
According to the latest bulletin from the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), at 05:30 (local time) on Tuesday, Super Cyclonic Storm Amphan was located over the West Central Bay of Bengal and is very likely to weaken to an extremely severe cyclonic storm as it tracks north-northeastwards across the bay. Amphan is currently forecast to make landfall between Digha (West Bengal) and Hatiya Island (Bangladesh) between 14:30 and 17:30 on Wednesday afternoon.
Rainfall commenced over coastal Odisha in the early hours of Tuesday and is expected to increase gradually throughout the day before becoming heavy from Tuesday night to Wednesday afternoon. Coastal districts of Gangetic West Bengal, including East Medinipur and South and North 24 Parganas, will receive light rain on Tuesday, increasing to become heavy through Wednesday. A storm surge of around 4 to 5 meters (13 to 16 ft) is expected in low lying areas of these districts. Winds of around 45 to 55 kph (28 to 34 mph) off the southern Odisha coast on Tuesday morning will increase as the storm moves north along the coast to around 100 to 110 kph (62 to 68 mph) off the northern Odisha coast on Wednesday. Winds reaching 155 to 165 kph (96 to 103 mph) are likely along and off East Medinipur and South and North 24 Parganas as the storm makes landfall on Wednesday afternoon.
Extensive damage to insecure structures, power lines, and crops are expected, particularly in coastal areas of both states. The IMD has recommended fishing operations be suspended from Monday through Wednesday. Damage to roads and railway lines is also possible during the passing of the storm. Associated flooding, landslides, and transportation and business disruptions are also possible.
Individuals in the affected areas are advised to monitor local weather reports, adhere to instructions issued by local authorities, anticipate adverse weather and power and transportation disruptions, and remember that running water can be dangerous - 15 cm (6 in) is enough to knock over an adult.
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