Asani intensifies into severe cyclonic storm; to impact WB, Odisha
Cyclone Asani—formed over the southeast Bay of Bengal—has intensified into a severe cyclonic storm on Sunday and will continue to move toward eastern coasts, the India Meteorological Department said. The cyclonic system has been moving northwestward at a 14km/h speed for the past six hours and will reach west-central and adjoining northwest Bay of Bengal off north Andhra Pradesh-Odisha coasts by Tuesday, it added.
- The cyclone's name—Asani—was suggested by Sri Lanka which means "wrath" in Sinhalese.
- The IMD first predicted this cyclonic system was likely to form on Friday after a low-pressure area formed over the South Andaman Sea and its neighborhood.
- It was earlier expected to make landfall between Andhra's Visakhapatnam and Odisha's Bhubaneswar, but the IMD said Asani will likely change course, missing the Andhra-Odisha coast.
IMD Director-General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra has said the cyclonic system will not make landfall either in Odisha or Andhra Pradesh. "The cyclone will move parallel to the east coast and cause rainfall from Tuesday evening," Mohapatra added. The IMD said light to moderate rainfall will be witnessed in districts of coastal Odisha from Tuesday evening and heavy rainfall is expected in Gajapati, Ganjam, and Puri.
Odisha's Special Relief Commissioner PK Jena said the state government has made adequate arrangements for rescue efforts. Jena, however, maintained that they don't see any "big danger" in the state as the cyclonic system will "pass around 100 km off the coast near [Odisha's] Puri."
Jena said National Disaster Response Force, Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force, and fire service teams are on standby in case of any emergency. All districts have been put on alert and district collectors have been empowered to conduct evacuation efforts keeping in view the local situation. Director-General of Odisha's Fire Services SK Upadhaya said all the 339 fire stations have been put on alert.
One NDRF unit has been deployed in Balasore and another ODRAF unit was sent to Ganjam district. ODRAF teams are also kept on standby in Krushna Prasad, Satpada, Puri, and Astarang blocks in Puri district, and Jagatsinghpur, Mahakalpada, and Rajnagar in Kendrapara, and Bhadrak.
Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim said disaster management teams have been put on alert after the IMD predicted light to moderate rainfall in Gangetic West Bengal from Tuesday to Friday due to the cyclone. Kolkata Municipal Corporation is keeping all measures on standby to clear blockages caused by fallen trees and other debris. Meanwhile, fishermen are advised not to venture into to sea from Tuesday.
In Purba Medinipur, South 24 Parganas, and North 24 Parganas, the district administrations are keeping cyclone shelters, schools, and pucca structures ready in case the evacuation is needed. The administration is also arranging dry food and necessary medicines, an official said. Meanwhile, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has postponed her district administration meetings scheduled between Tuesday and Thursday to review disaster preparedness.