Kolkata: A cyclonic storm brewing in the Bay of Bengal lay 1220 km south-southwest of Digha in West Bengal on Saturday and is likely to bring heavy to very heavy rain in the coastal districts of the state from May 19.
The state government has geared up for rescue and relief operations.
The system is likely to intensify into a severe cyclonic storm by Sunday evening and move north-northwestwards till May 17, regional Met director G K Das said.
It is very likely to recurve north-northeastwards thereafter towards West Bengal coast from May 18 to 20, he said.
Under its impact, the coastal districts of Gangetic West Bengal, including North and South 24 Parganas, Kolkata, East and West Midnapore, Howrah and Hooghly will experience heavy to very heavy rain on May 19 and 20, Das said.
West Bengal Home secretary Alapan Bandopdhyay said that the entire state machinery is prepared to deal with the situation.
Disaster management teams are being sent to cyclone shelters in the coastal areas and other places for rescue and relief operations, he said.
Bandopadhyay said that provisions have been made for maintaining social distancing norms at these shelters in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said that National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams are also there for rescue and relief operations.
The state chief secretary held a meeting with concerned officials on Saturday evening to take stock of preparations and the movement of the cyclone, he said.
Fishermen have been advised not to venture into North Bay of Bengal along and off West Bengal-Odisha coasts from May 18 to 21 and those who are out in the sea were asked to return to coasts by May 17.
Sea condition will be very high to phenomenal over north Bay of Bengal on May 19 and 20, the regional Met director said.
Wind speed along and off the coastal areas of West Bengal will reach 45 to 55 kmph with gusts of 65 kmph from May 19 afternoon and will gradually increase to 75 to 85 kmph with gusts upto 90 kmph from May 20 morning, the weatherman said.
The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has also prepared itself for maritime search and rescue operations.
“All out efforts have been made in the maritime states of West Bengal and Odisha in co-ordination with the state administration and Fisheries department,” the ICG has said.
The ICG ships and aircraft on patrol are directing fishing boats operating at sea to return to harbour for safety, it said.