news · 26/05/2024 0

Cyclone Remal To Hit West Bengal And Bangladesh Coastlines At Midnight; Rescuers On Guard For Severe Storm


A storm surge of up to 1.5 metres is expected to inundate low-lying areas of coastal West Bengal and Bangladesh at the time of landfall. (@airnewsalerts/X)

A storm surge of up to 1.5 metres is expected to inundate low-lying areas of coastal West Bengal and Bangladesh at the time of landfall. (@airnewsalerts/X)

The authorities of Kolkata airport have decided to suspend flight operations for 21 hours from Sunday noon in view of the possible impact of cyclone Remal, an official said here.

Disaster management agencies are gearing up to face severe cyclonic storm Remal, which is hurtling towards the West Bengal and Bangladesh coastlines with landfall expected around midnight on Sunday and a wind speed of 110-120 km per hour, gusting to 135 kmph.

The Met Office has warned of extremely heavy rainfall in the coastal districts of West Bengal and north Odisha on May 26-27. A storm surge of up to 1.5 metres is expected to inundate low-lying areas of coastal West Bengal and Bangladesh at the time of landfall. A control room has been set up at the Kolkata Police headquarters in Lalbazar for the state agencies. Additionally, teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are heading for the districts that are likely to be affected by the cyclonic storm.

@IndiaCoastGuard is closely monitoring Cyclonic Storm #Remal formed over the #BayofBengal, expected to intensify into a Severe Cyclonic Storm by 25 May. With assets deployed along the East Coast, including 10 Ships and 2 Aircraft, #ICG is monitoring and advising vessels on… pic.twitter.com/GmJyLs8rEo

— Indian Coast Guard (@IndiaCoastGuard) May 24, 2024

Ports

The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) is also issuing alerts to mariners besides coordinating with its Bangladeshi counterparts for proper handling of the situation. “We are keeping a watch on the situation. All vessels that are likely to be close to the path of the storm have been told to take precautions. Warnings are being sent constantly to all ships and any smaller vessels that may be out at sea.

“Though there is an official ban on fishing in West Bengal at this time of the year, a search is being made for any stray trawlers that may have evaded the ban and sneaked out to sea. We are also in touch with the Bangladesh Coast Guard for a coordinated search and rescue effort if the need arises,” a senior ICG official from the North East Region, headquartered in Kolkata, said. He also said that apart from ICG ships, air assets are also in place at Kolkata and Bhubaneswar for immediate deployment. Two monitoring stations have been set up at Haldia and Paradip by the ICG.

Meanwhile, the NDRF has deployed 12 teams with equipment in seven districts. While one team will be deployed in Kolkata, there will be two each in the districts of North 24-Parganas, East Midnapore, and West Midnapore. Three teams have been deployed in South 24-Parganas which is expected to be hit the hardest. The remaining teams will be stationed at Howrah and Hooghly. The situation is expected to be at its worst between 6 p.m. on Sunday and 6 a.m. on Monday.

Airports

Meanwhile, the authorities of Kolkata airport have decided to suspend flight operations for 21 hours from Sunday noon in view of the possible impact of cyclone Remal. A total of 394 flights, arrival and departure, in both international and domestic sectors would not operate to and fro the airport during the flight suspension period, an Airports Authority of India (AAI) spokesperson told PTI.

The precautionary measure was taken after a meeting of the stakeholders of the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International (NSCBI) Airport on Saturday, the official said. This was done during the meeting as per the Met department report. It said that heavy wind with speeds more than 50 to 60 knots and gusting up to 70 knots. One knot is equivalent to 1.852 km per hour.

“In view of cyclone Remal’s impact on the coastal region of West Bengal, including Kolkata, a meeting was held with the stakeholders and it has been decided to suspend flight operations from 1200 IST on May 26 to 0900 IST on May 27 due to predicted heavy winds and heavy to very heavy rainfall in Kolkata,” NSCBI Airport Director C Pattabhi said in a statement.

A meeting was convened by the Kolkata airport director on Friday also with all the stakeholders including AAI, Met department, air traffic control (ATC), communication, navigation and surveillance (CNS) and others in view of the cyclone. According to a top AAI official, this is perhaps the first time that the weather conditions en route both for aircraft and passengers have been considered so that fliers could get proper time to reach their respective destinations after landing here.

“Similarly, no flights will come or depart from Kolkata after 12 noon on Sunday and it is well ahead of the cyclone’s landfall time. So no aircraft, departing and arriving, would encounter very bad weather en route,” the official explained. Other standard safety-related procedures – such as lowering high mast lights, putting away all equipment at safer places and shifting vehicles inside hangers – are being carried out. Besides, mooring of smaller aircraft will have to be completed also, the official said.

(With agency inputs)

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