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Cyclone Bulbul crosses West Bengal, thousands evacuated as cyclonic storm heads to Bangladesh

Cyclonic storm Bulbul, which weakened from 'very severe' to 'severe', crossed the coast of West Bengal with a maximum wind speed of 110-120 km per hour gusting upto 120 km per hour into Bangladesh, the MeT department said.

Cyclone Bulbul crosses West Bengal, thousands evacuated as cyclonic storm heads to Bangladesh
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KOLKATA/DHAKA: Cyclonic storm Bulbul, which weakened from 'very severe' to 'severe', crossed the coast of West Bengal with a maximum wind speed of 110-120 km per hour gusting upto 120 km per hour into Bangladesh, the MeT department said.

''Severe Cyclonic Storm  Bulbul weakened into a cyclonic storm & lay centered at 0530 hours of today, over Bangladesh & adjoining coastal West Bengal. It is very likely to move East-North Eastwards across Bangladesh & likely to weaken into a deep depression during the next 6 hrs,'' the IMD said on Sunday.

The weather office in its earlier bulletin had said, "Severe cyclonic storm Bulbul crossed West Bengal coast close to Sundarban Dhanchi forest during 20:30 to 23:30 hrs IST of November 9 with the wind speed of 110-120 kmph gusting upto 135kmph."  

The cyclone had made landfall around 9.00 pm on Saturday, 60 kilometres east of Sagar Island, 100 kilometres south of Kolkata and touching down Diamond Harbour. Some trees were uprooted as the cyclic storm crossed over West Bengal.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee visited a control room at the state secretariat to monitor the situation arising out of Cyclone Bulbul on Saturday

Light to moderate rainfall at most places very likely over coastal dist of West Bengal with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places over North and South 24 Parganas, East Medinipur and isolated heavy rainfall over West Medinipur, Howrah, Nadiya and Hooghly during the next 12 hours, the IMD predicted.

The weather department also predicted light to moderate rainfall at many places with isolated heavy falls very likely over South Assam and Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram during the next 36 hours.

Earlier Kolkata Airport had announced that flight operations will remain suspended till 6 am on Sunday.

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The cyclone had earlier crossed the Odisha coast with gusting winds of 35-40 km with heavy rainfall in coastal districts of Bhadrak, Jagatsingpur and Balasore.

There were no incidents or accidents reported except for uprooting of a few trees and snapping of electric poles with nil loss of life, according to the Indian Coast Guard.

As many as 38 fishermen who had taken shelter at the fish landing harbour Talchua near Dhamra are reported to be safe.

The IMD has issued advisories to fishermen warning them not to venture into sea along and off north Odisha and West Bengal coasts during next 12 hours predicting sea condition to be rough along the coasts. 

Meanwhile, authorities have evacuated about 100,000 people from its low-lying coastal villages and islands as Cyclone Bulbul crossed the coast of West Bengal with a maximum wind speed of 110-120 km per hour gusting upto 120 km per hour into Bangladesh.

The country`s Meteorological Department has asked local authorities and two ports to raise their highest alert, as the cyclone is set to unleash a storm surge as high as two metres (seven feet) in coastal districts.

Bulbul is on course to make landfall in the southwestern Khulna region, near the Sundarbans, the world`s largest mangrove forest, which straddles Bangladesh and part of eastern India and is home to the endangered Bengal tigers.

About 55,000 volunteers have been mobilised to go door-to-door and alert people about the storm.

Authorities have suspended a nationwide school test, cancelled the holidays of officials posted in coastal districts and called off a traditional fair that draws tens of thousands of people in the Sundarbans.

According to reports by Dhaka Tribune, State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Dr Md Enamur Rahman has advised the people of 13 coastal districts to come to cyclone shelters by 2 p.m. (local time).

The cyclone had made landfall around 8.30 p.m. on Saturday 60 kilometres east of Sagar Island and 100 kilometres south of Kolkata and light to moderate rainfall is expected in the surrounding region, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) predicted.

(With ANI inputs)