Wednesday, May 20, 2020 11:49:04 PM
Staff Reporter :
Ferocious wind and rain is lashing parts of Bangladesh coastlines on Wednesday afternoon as cyclone Amphan makes landfall.
Millions of people were evacuated in anticipation of the storm, which originated in the Bay of Bengal.
The storm, the first super cyclone to form in the area since 1999, is forecast to cause deadly storm surges, severe flooding and mudslides.
Covid-19 and social-distancing measures have made mass evacuations more difficult for authorities.
Cyclone Amphan first made landfall close to Sundarbans, a mangrove area around the India-Bangladesh border, between Digha (West Bengal) and Hatiya Islands (Bangladesh) on Wednesday afternoon, dumping heavy rain with howling winds at sustained winds of 155-165 kmph, gusting to 185 kmph.
Amphan is expected to move further into Bangladesh on Thursday, and later Bhutan.
Officials in Bangladesh fear it will be the most powerful storm since Cyclone Sidr killed about 3,500 people in 2007. Most died as a result of sea water surging in.
India's weather department is predicting storm surges as high as 10-16 feet (3-5 metres). The rising of sea levels in this way can send deadly walls of water barrelling far inland, devastating communities.
"It will cross Khulna-Satkhira region over 4:00pm to 8:00pm," said Director of the Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) Shamsuddin Ahmed.
He said the speed of the wind will gradually diminish with the cyclone crossing the Khulna-Satkhira region.
Parts of the Khulna-Satkhira region are witnessing extensive damage as trees were uprooted and power infrastructure damaged due to strong wind.
Earlier, the forecasters said the cyclone would cross Bangladesh coast between Khulna-Satkhira sometime at Wednesday night. Maritime ports of Mongla and Payra have been advised to keep hoisted Great Danger Signal Number 10.
They have predicted surges of seawater up to 15 feet high at different low-lying coastal districts of the country.
More than 24 lakh people in the 14 coastal districts of the country have been evacuated from vulnerable areas and shifted to safe locations in cyclone shelters. The government has made all necessary arrangements for food and sanitation of the people who have taken shelter at the cyclone shelters in different coastal districts.
Forecasters at the BMD earlier said cyclone Amphan would hit Bangladesh coast at Sundarbans around 8:00pm, predicting a surge of seawater up to 15 feet high. Such walls of water can cascade several kilometers inland.
Ferocious wind and rain are lashing 14 districts of Bangladesh as cyclone Amphan is crossing the coastlines of the country.
Coastal districts of Satkhira, Khulna, Bagerhat, Jhalakati, Pirojpur, Barguna, Patuakhali, Bhola, Barishal, Laxmipur, Chandpur and their offshore islands and chars will come under the influence of the Great Danger Signal No. 10.
Maritime ports of Chattogram and Cox's Bazar have been advised to keep hoisted Great Danger Signal No. 9.
Coastal districts of Noakhali, Cumilla, Feni, Chattogram and Cox's Bazar and their offshore islands and chars come under Great Danger Signal No. 9.
Under the influence of the cyclone and the end day of last quarter moon, the low-lying areas of the coastal districts of Satkhira, Khulna, Bagerhat, Jhalakati, Pirojpur, Barguna, Patuakhali, Bhola, Barishal, Laxmipur, Chandpur, Noakhali, Feni, Chattogram and their offshore islands and chars are likely to be inundated by storm surges of 10-15 feet height.
As the cyclone is now passing the coastline of Bangladesh, the coastal districts of Satkhira, Khulna, Bagerhat, Jhalakati, Pirojpur, Barguna, Patuakhali, Bhola, Barishal, Laxmipur, Chandpur, Noakhali, Feni, Chattogram and their offshore islands and chars are experiencing wind speed up to 140-160 kph in gusts/squalls with very heavy rainfalls.
All fishing boats and trawlers over North Bay and deep sea have been advised to take shelter immediately and will remain in shelter till further notice.
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