Low-pressure system set to form on Bay of Bengal, may develop into cyclone: Met dept

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(Eds: minor changes) Kolkata, May 20 (PTI) A low-pressure area, set to form over east central Bay of Bengal on May 22, is likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm and strike the Odisha-West Bengal coast on May 26, the Met department said on Thursday, sparking fears of another Amphan-like catastrophe.

Regional Met director G K Das said several places in Bengal are likely to experience light to moderate rainfall from May 25, and isolated areas may encounter heavy showers.

The intensity of rainfall may gradually increase, especially in the Gangetic belts.

The Met department has also warned of rough to very rough sea conditions.

Fishermen in West Bengal have been advised against venturing into the sea for a few days from May 23. Those who are out with trawlers have been requested to return to the shore in the next two days.

The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) said it is closely monitoring the developments on the Bay of Bengal, and has initiated preventive measures.

'Coast Guard Dornier aircraft and ships are intimating the fishermen operating close to the shore and those at sea about the formation of cyclonic storm over Odisha-West Bengal coast, and directing them to return back to the harbour safely,' an ICG official said.

He said that radar stations at the ICG in West Bengal and Odisha have also started transmitting weather warnings at regular intervals, both in English and in vernacular language.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday held a high-level meeting with officials of the disaster management authority, district magistrates and police superintendents to review the preparations in place in the event of a cyclone.

She has asked them to make necessary arrangements, while strictly following the COVID protocols.

The Amphan super cyclone, which struck Bengal in the third week of May last year, had claimed at least 98 lives and caused widespread destruction of property and infrastructure in the state's southern districts, including Kolkata, causing immense hardship to millions of people.

The prevailing low-pressure area, if it develops into a cyclone, will be christened 'Yaas', a name given by Oman, in accordance with a standard procedure.

The Indian Metrological Department (IMD), being a Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre (RSMC) -- one of the six in the world -- provide tropical cyclone and storm surge advisories to 13 countries, including Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

The RSMC, New Delhi has released a list of names for tropical cyclones after taking into consideration suggestions made by these 13 countries - all members of WMO/ESCAP (World Meteorological Organisation/United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific). PTI AMR RMS RMS RMS RMS

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