Severe cyclone ‘Amphan’ hurtled towards Indian shores on Wednesday, triggering downpour in coastal Odisha and West Bengal, uprooting trees, flattening fragile dwellings and forcing evacuation of over four lakh people, officials said.
Despite losing its force a bit since Tuesday, the storm, which was categorised as a super cyclone at one point, has left the two states on edge as it hollered on its destructive path over the Bay of Bengal.
More than 1.25 lakh people have so far been evacuated from low-lying coastal areas of Odisha and the exercise is still under way in some places like Balasore, the Special Relief Commissioner (SRC), Mr. P K Jena, said in Bhubaneswar. More than three lakh people were removed to safer places in West Bengal.
Intense rainfall was recorded in several areas of Puri, Khurda, Jagatsinghpur, Cuttack, Kendrapara, Jajpur, Ganjam, Ganjam, Bhadrak and Balasore districts since Tuesday.
Though the storm lay about 120 km east-southeast of Paradip, 125 km south-southeast of Digha (West Bengal) and nearly 220 km south of Kolkata, its effects are already in evidence in the two states.
Cyclone Amphan is currently crossing the West Bengal coast near the Sundarbans and will reach near Kolkata by evening, The IMD Director General, Mr. Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, said on Wednesday as the storm was making landfall.
He said strong winds with an intensity of 160 km per hour have commenced in coastal West Bengal districts.
“'The first arm of Cyclone Amphan has touched the land. The eye of the cyclone is expected to touch land anytime,' he said.
'Landfall process started at 2.30 pm with the entry of the front sector of the wall cloud region,'” he said.
The width of the wall cloud is around 120 km and the diameter of the eye is about 40 km. The rear side is about 120 km and the entire process will be completed by 3-4 hours.