QKolkata: Fani Makes Early Landfall; Airport Shuts Early

1. Roofs Fly, Poles Down, Beach Towns Emptied

Winds and rain blew away tiled roofs of hundreds of houses and knocked scores of electric poles in pockets of West Midnapore close to the Odisha border on Friday morning, soon after Fani made landfall in the neighbouring state.

Danton, Narayangarh, Kharagpur, Salboni and Midnapore Sadar were among the areas affected, with at least 25 to 30 villages without power. In Midnapore town, close to 50 homes were damaged. Six persons were injured in Danton and Narayangarh when they were hit by parts of flying roof debris.

(Source: The Telegraph)

Also Read: Cyclone Fani Wreaks Havoc in Odisha, Heavy Rains Lash Kolkata

2. Early Landfall Leads To Early Calcutta Airport Closure

The Calcutta airport was shut down around 4pm on Friday — more than five hours before the scheduled suspension of operations — following a warning from the meteorological department that Cyclone Fani could hit the city earlier than expected.

An advisory issued by the directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) at 11am on Friday stated that flight operations at Calcutta airport should remain suspended between 3pm on Friday and 8am on Saturday.

On Thursday, the DGCA had advised the airport to suspend operations between 9:30pm on Friday and 6pm on Saturday.

The airport authorities, however, allowed flights to operate till 4pm because the weather did not deteriorate. A Regent Airways flight for Dhaka was the last to take off, at 4:04pm.

(Source: The Telegraph)

3. With A Mind Of Its Own, Fickle Fani Keeps Citizens Guessing

It was an agonising day for Kolkata as the city kept its fingers crossed for Cyclone Fani and followed its progress. The extremely severe cyclonic storm, which turned into a severe storm as it reached Bengal, was likely to hit the state after midnight.

While wind speed picked up in East and West Midnapore after eight in the evening, reaching a maximum of 80-90kmph, Fani was likely to strike Kolkata with a speed of up to 60-70kmph, gusting to 100kmph. It could be most severe in the city between Friday midnight and Saturday afternoon and then lose intensity before moving into Bangladesh as a cyclonic storm, said the Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC).

(Source: The Times Of India)

Also Read: Fani: IAF keeps 11 choppers, 4 aircraft on standby

4. From Tracking Storm To Taking Calls, A Busy Day At Met Office

The telephone kept ringing in the forecast room of the Regional Meteorological Centre, Kolkata, since Friday morning. Apart from keeping track of cyclone Fani, the officials had the additional task of attending to the phone calls from anxious citizens enquiring about its movement and aftermath in the city.

“I have come to office, but I am worried about the cyclone hitting the city while I am returning home. Should I leave for home early?” a tense office-goer asked over phone.

As soon as the duty officer hung up, the phone started ringing again. This time, the call came from a cop at Lalbazar, the headquarters of Kolkata Police, who wanted to know the latest update on the cyclone.

(Source: The Times Of India)

5. In Kharagpur Hotel, Mamata War Room

Mamata Banerjee has suspended all political programmes on Friday and Saturday, switching from campaign mode to set up an improvised control room at a private hotel in Kharagpur to monitor cyclone Fani.

The chief minister, who had arrived at the hotel by road on Thursday to address three rallies in West Midnapore, cancelled them on Friday after learning of the storm’s severity.

“We are totally alert, keeping a close, minute-by-minute watch on the situation…. I will ask our people to minimise outdoor activities to the extent possible for these two days. If you must go out, watch out for electric poles and live electric wires. Switch off cable (TV) lines, disconnect (LPG) cylinders during the storm,” Mamata said.

(Source: The Telegraph)

Also Read: Poll campaigns hit as cyclone Fani advances to Bengal

6. Rickety Houses Risky But Tenants Refuse To Shift To Rehab Centres

Dilshad Begum hardly ever watches news on television, but on Friday, she woke up early and switched on the TV to get the latest update on Cyclone Fani. Around 9am, a group of KMC buildings department engineers visited her home on Bedford Lane, off Elliot Road, and requested her to shift to a nearby gymnasium that has been converted into a temporary rehabilitation centre for residents of dilapidated buildings.

Among the few existing mud-and-tin houses, Dishad’s home, where she has been living as a tenant for the past 45 years, has been listed as a “highly dangerous” structure by the civic body. Mayor Firhad Hakim has instructed his civic colleagues to shift residents of all the dilapidated buildings in the city to safer places before the cyclone hits the city. But Dilshad firmly refused to budge from her home as did many of her neighbours and residents of other rickety houses, even though they are too dangerous to live in even during normal times.

(Source: The Times Of India)

7. Lightning Kills 10-Year-Old; 150 Midnapore Homes Damaged

A 10-year-old boy was struck by lightning when he disregarded warnings about the impending cyclone and went to play under a tree in West Midnapore’s Goaltore on Friday. Bhairab Show was declared dead on arrival at Keyakole Hospital. Gusty winds blowing across Midnapore town, Kharagpur, Danton and Chandrakona damaged around 150 houses, rendering families homeless.

Those who lost their homes have now been shifted to relief camps being run in primary school buildings.

Show’s father Badal said, “My son’s school was closed because of the impending cyclone on Friday. He had stepped out of the house without informing us. We are still reeling from the shock of losing him.”

(Source: The Times Of India)

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