Bengal, Odisha brace ahead of cyclone Yaas

Environment Event

Kolkata: Cyclone Yaas is likely to hit the Bengal-Odisha coast between Sagar Island and Paradip on the evening of May 26.

Yaas, which comes days after cyclone Tauktae wrecked Kerala, Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat, is expected to acutely affect the Bengal coast after crossing north of Odisha as a very severe cyclonic storm with a wind speed of 155 kmph to 165 kmph.

Since Sunday, a depression has formed over the Bay of Bengal, causing a drizzle in parts of West Bengal.

“It is very likely to move slowly towards  north-north west wards and will continue to move in the direction and reach Northwest Bay of Bengal near north Odisha and coast of Bengal by early morning of 26th May,” Dr Sanjib Bandopadhyay, deputy director general of India Meteorological Department, informed The Observer.

“It will take a very severe form around noon on Wednesday,” he added.

Meteorologist Akshay Deora tweeted: “Cyclone Yaas will become the second intense tropical Cyclone (severe cyclonic storm or above as per the IMD scale) to have formed to the north of 15° N latitude and West of 88° E longitude in the month of May since 1980.”

Around the same time in 2020, super cyclone Amphan wreaked havoc in southern parts of West Bengal with a wind speed of 185 kmph. People of the state still remember the damage the cyclone left behind. Thousands of houses were damaged, lakhs of acres of crops destroyed, thousands of trees uprooted and around 19 lakh were people evacuated in the wake of Amphan.

Ajanta Roy, a resident of south Kolkata, said: “During Amphan, we faced problems of waterlogging. My entire first floor was filled with dirty water and several trees fell on the street. One huge branch fell on my terrace. I am really worried this time.”

The meteorology department has said cyclone Yaas has lower intensity than Amphan, but the sea will remain turbulent. Fishermen were asked to return to the shore by Sunday evening.

The Odisha and West Bengal governments have taken precautionary measures. The Odisha government has asked the Centre for 32 teams of National Disaster Force, whereas the West Bengal government has set up a war room at the Lalbazaar police headquarters.

Kolkata’s municipal authorities and the power utility CESC deployed their personnel on Sunday morning. They are cautioning residents of dilapidated buildings and trimming weak branches of trees across the city.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee will remain present  at Upanna, an extension of Nabanna, the administrative office of the state government and oversee after the rescue operations. She tweeted: “I have extensively reviewed the Disaster Management preparedness with regards to the impending Yass cyclone with all senior officers of relevant Central and State agencies along with DMs and SPs.”

The NDRF has positioned 46 teams; 13 other teams have been airlifted to be deployed from Monday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday held a high-level meeting with the states concerned and other agencies to review their preparedness.

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