The Bangladeshi authorities have evacuated close to 100,000 people from low-lying coastal villages and islands as Cyclone Bulbul crossed the coast of West Bengal with the maximum speed being reported as that of 110-120 km per hour gusting up to 120 kmph into Bangladesh. "Severe cyclonic storm Bulbul crossed West Bengal coast close to Sundarban Dhanchi forest during 20:30 to 23:30 hrs IST of November 9 with the wind speed of 110-120 kmph gusting up to 135kmph," the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said early on Sunday. The Bangladesh Meteorological Department has asked local authorities and two ports to raise their highest alert. The cyclone is set to unleash a storm surge as high as two metres (seven feet) in coastal districts.
Bulbul is on course to make landfall in the southwestern Khulna region, near the Sundarbans. The Sundarbans are the world's largest mangrove forest that straddles Bangladesh and part of eastern India and is home to the endangered Bengal tigers. About 55,000 volunteers have been mobilised to go door-to-door and alert people about the storm. Authorities have suspended a nationwide school test, cancelled the holidays of officials posted in coastal districts. They have also called off a traditional fair that draws tens of thousands of people in the Sundarbans. According to reports by Dhaka Tribune, State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Dr Md Enamur Rahman have advised the people of 13 coastal districts to come to cyclone shelters by 2 pm (Bangladesh time).
Cyclone ‘Bulbul’ made landfall at West Bengal’s Sagar island around 8 pm on Saturday and is expected to move northeastwards into neighbouring Bangladesh, hovering over the Sunderbans delta. After making landfall, the cyclone was downgraded from a very severe cyclonic storm to a severe cyclonic storm. It is expected to stay in that category for only a few hours after which its wind speed will drop considerably. The Kolkata unit of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the cyclone’s landfall process has started — while it has begun entering the landmass, the entire process will take three hours to complete before the eye of the storm lies over the land. South 24-Parganas district of Bengal is likely to experience wind speed of 120-130 kmph. The cyclone is very likely to move northeastwards, weaken gradually and cross West Bengal-Bangladesh coasts between Sagar Islands (WB) and Khepupara (Bangladesh), across Sunderban delta during next three hours as a Severe Cyclonic Storm.
Meanwhile, due to strong winds and rainfall triggered by the very severe cyclonic storm, one death has been reported from Bengal and Odisha each. Continuous downpour since the early hours of Saturday left parts of Kolkata and its adjoining suburbs with waterlogged streets and overflowing drains. Trees were uprooted in various parts of the city killing one person, officials said. In Odisha, one person died in a rain-related wall collapse incident in Kendrapara district and the matter is being enquired, informed Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) PK Jena.
(INPUTS FROM ANI)