New Delhi: Cyclone Fani, which hit Odisha’s Puri at around 8 AM on Friday, is likely to move north-northeastwards, covering all districts in coastal Odisha, towards West Bengal, stated the IMD. In view of the approaching storm, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will stay in Kharagpur, near the coastal belt to monitor the situation herself on May 3 and May 4. Notably, all her political campaigns for the two days have been cancelled.

As per the Met Department forecast, Kolkata and the south Bengal region is likely to receive moderate showers on Friday afternoon.  Later in the evening, the rainfall is likely to become heavier with a wind speed of 85 kmph. In view of the approaching cyclone, the West Bengal government including the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) announced various evacuation measures from unsafe buildings and coastal areas. People were advised to remove hoardings near thoroughfares and flyovers, stated a report.

The Meteorological Department officials in Hyderabad said, “Winds in Puri, Odisha are blowing at a maximum speed of 240-245 km per hour and heavy to very heavy rains are continuing over the Odisha coast. After landfall, the impact is likely to reduce and it is likely to move towards the West Bengal coast.”

Meanwhile, the extremely severe cyclone storm has triggered heavy rains in parts of north coastal Andhra Pradesh, while gusty winds uprooted trees and electricity poles, officials said. The cyclone moved close to north coastal Andhra before it made a landfall in neighbouring Odisha. It will later hit Bengal as a ‘severe’ storm at Bengal’s Midnapore around 5 PM. Its landfall process would likely come to an end by 2.30 PM.

Cyclone Fani would be the strongest storm to hit Kolkata, stronger than cyclone Aila in terms of wind speed which hit Bengal a decade ago. However, it is likely to have a lesser impact when compared to the devastating storm of 2009.

(With agency inputs)