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Bulbul intensifies into 'severe cyclonic storm', to make landfall in Bengal by Saturday night


KOLKATA: Bulbul, intensifying into a severe cyclonic storm and triggering heavy rain, is likely to make landfall between Saturday evening and midnight over the Bay of Bengal.

The regional Met office issued a warning saying the squally wind of 100 km per hour with gust up to 135 km per hour is likely to hit Sunderbans and the Bay of Bengal.

The administrations in coastal districts have been asked to keep all sorts of preparedness in place and ensure total suspension of fishing and ferry service for two days.

"During landfall, Bulbul is likely to be in the very severe cyclonic storm category with a maximum sustained windspeed of 100 km to 120 km per hour gusting up to 135 km per hour. It will prevail from Saturday evening for next 12 hours along with the coastal pockets of the West Bengal. The storm may cause damage to kuchha houses, power and communication line and roads in parts of West Bengal," said G. K. Das, the regional Met director, suggesting people to stay indoors.

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Bulbul entered 190 km southwest of Sagar Islands on Saturday morning and is likely to weaken gradually and cross the coast between Sagar Islands and Khepupara in Bangladesh with a reduced force, the Met department said.

Squally wind with 50 km to 70 km per hour speed is likely to cross over Kolkata and its adjoining Howrah, Hooghly, parts of South 24-Parganas and North 24-Parganas districts.

Ferry services on the Hooghly, between Kolkata and Howrah, were suspended from Saturday morning.

The state government has put measures in place to tackle the evolving situation. Schools in seven districts remained close on Saturday. Personnel of Disaster Management Group (DMG) have been asked to be ready round-the-clock to rescue people, supply helps to affected people and clear road communications during and after the cyclone.

In Kolkata airport, 23 flights were cancelled till Saturday afternoon. The railways were alerted about the cyclone and has been asked to operate suburban services according to the situation.      

The light rain that lashed Kolkata since Friday afternoon increased in intensity and continued to pound the state capital from Saturday morning triggering waterlogging in some of the pockets in low-lying areas.

All tourists in Digha in East Midnapore were asked either to leave the tourist spot or stay indoors.

Movement on the beach was barred since Friday evening.

Tourists were not allowed to stay at Bakkhali in the coastal area of South 24-Parganas district.

They had to leave the spot by Friday evening.