Cyclone 'Bulbul' to bring heavy rain; WB, Odisha prepare toface calamity (Eds: incorporating related

Cyclone 'Bulbul' to bring heavy rain; WB, Odisha prepare toface calamity (Eds: incorporating related stories) Kolkata/Bhubaneswar, Nov 7 (PTI) With the cyclone'Bulbul' over the Bay of Bengal set to intensify into a verysevere cyclonic storm, triggering heavy rain in parts ofOdisha and West Bengal, the two states are bracing for thesituation.

The Met department said that the cyclone, situated 750kilometres south of Kolkata in the afternoon, is likely tointensify into a severe cyclonic storm by Thursday night andinto a very severe cyclonic storm by Friday.

The governments of the two states are taking measuresto ensure that damage from the storm is contained, even as theCentre assured them of all assistance.

The weatherman said the system is likely to moveinitially north-northwestwards and then nearly northwards tillNovember 9.

It will then re-curve northeastwards towardsBangladesh and adjoining West Bengal, skirting Odisha, andcause heavy to very heavy rain in the coastal districts ofNorth Odisha and West Bengal for three days from Friday.

Taking note of the severity of the storm andpossibility of damage to property and lives, the Centre hasasked the West Bengal and Odisha government to take all stepsto deal with 'Bulbul' and ensure there is minimum casualty anddamage.

The weatherman predicted possible damage to thatchedroofs, embankments and roads in the coastal districts of NorthOdisha and West Bengal.

It advised people in affected areas to remain indoorsand total suspension of fishing from November 8.

At a high-level meeting in New Delhi, PrincipalSecretary to the Prime Minister, P K Mishra also assured thestates of all necessary central assistance.

The meeting was convened in the wake of concernexpressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Top officials of Odisha, West Bengal and UnionTerritory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands attended the meetingthrough video conference.

The Met said sea condition will be rough to very roughalong and off Odisha and West Bengal coasts from Fridayonwards and will become very high on Saturday and Sunday.

In West Bengal, fishermen have been advised to returnto the coast by Thursday evening and not venture into the seastill the caution is lifted.

District officials have been asked to keep a tab onthe situation and prepare for any contingency, a governmentfunctionary said.

The weatherman has forecast sustained windspeed of 120to 130 km per hour with gusts of up to 140 kmph when thecyclone will be at its 'very severe' form on Friday and thenlessen to a 'severe' cyclonic storm on November 9.

Under its impact, heavy to very heavy rainfall withextremely heavy rain at one or two places is likely to occurin the coastal districts of North and South 24 Parganas onNovember 9 and 10, the Met said.

It will also bring heavy rain in Kolkata East and WestMidnapore, Howrah, Hooghly and Nadia district during the twodays.

In Bhubaneswar, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC), PKJena said as per IMD predictions, coastal Odisha is likely toexperience wind speed of 70-80 kmph gusting up to 90 kmph onFriday accompanied by heavy to very heavy downpour.

In view of the weather condition, all schools andanganwadi centres will remain closed on Friday and Saturday inPuri, Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara districts, an official saidin the Odisha capital.

However, the Met department's forecast that thecyclone may skip Odisha has come as a major relief to thepeople of the state, who are still struggling to return tonormalcy post cyclone Fani in May that had claimed more than64 lives and destroyed around five lakh houses. PTI AMR SKNACB SNS AMRNN NN