West Bengal and Odisha prepare for Cyclone Yaas as IMD warns of severe cyclonic storm

West Bengal and Odisha prepare for Cyclone Yaas as IMD warns of severe cyclonic storm

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The Indian Meteorological Department has warned that it can’t rule out the possibility of a new cyclone heading towards the Eastern seaboard of India, Cyclone Yaas, intensifying like Cyclone Amphan.

We cannot rule out an Amphan-like intensification. The only good thing is that models as of now are showing that the system is moving very fast over the sea. Its intensification will be restricted if its time over sea is less,” Sunitha Devi, IMD official, told the Hindustan Times.

This is the second cyclone to hit India within a period of less than two weeks. Cyclone Tauktae recently caused widespread destruction along the western coastline of India. The increasing presence of cyclones, at least in the Arabian Sea, has been linked directly to global warming by recent studies.

“Cyclone Yaas may be a severe or extremely severe category storm. It is likely to take the shape of a low pressure on May 22 and intensify into a cyclonic storm by May 24. Under its impact, coastal Odisha might start to see rain from May 25”, IMD Cyclone Centre Chief RK Jenamani told OTV, an Odia news channel.

The Indian Coast Guards (ICG) said in a statement that it is very likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm in next 72 hours. “It is predicted to move north-westwards and reach Odisha-West Bengal coasts around May 26 evening,” it added. Pre-emptive measures have already been initiated by the ICG to deal with Yaas, it mentioned.

“Weather warnings are being regularly relayed by ICG ships, aircraft and ROC (remote operating centre)/ROS (remote operating station) on VHF (very high frequency) urging fishermen and mariners to return to shore or take shelter in nearest port,” it noted. These warnings are being relayed in English as well as in vernacular languages to alert merchant vessels, fishing boats, scientific research vessels, oil rigs, accommodation barges, support vessels for offshore development areas, it said. “Port authorities, oil rig operators, shipping, fisheries authorities and fishermen associations have been informed about the likelihood of cyclone formation,” it noted. The ICG said a fishing ban is already in force on the east coast of India.

In West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee directed state officials to make necessary arrangements for medicine, clean water, food and tarpaulins in case the cyclone forms and makes landfall. CM Banerjee held the meeting virtually with senior officials.

Last year in May, India saw the formation of two cyclones, Amphan on the Eastern coast and Nisarga on the Western coast. A UN report released last month calculated that Amphan caused more than $14 billion worth of economic damage in India alone.



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