Only a week after hurricane Tauktae wrecked havoc on the country’s west coast, Yaas, a “very strong cyclonic storm,” is expected to hit the eastern coastline of Odisha and West Bengal on May 26.
The cyclone is advancing northwards in the Bay of Bengal, according to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD). It is predicted to reach landfall between Paradip, Odisha, and the Sagar Islands, West Bengal, on Wednesday evening. Winds range from 155 to 165 kilometres per hour, with gusts up to 185 kilometres per hour.
“It would continue to move north-northwestwards, intensify further and reach Northwest Bay of Bengal near West Bengal and north Odisha coasts by 26th May morning,” the IMD’s Cyclone Warning Division stated. The meteorological authority also predicted that heavy rain will begin to fall in coastal areas on Tuesday.
The army and navy have maintained their resources on standby, including military planes and warships, due to the ferocity of the hurricane. Officials added the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and coast guard units are also ready to help civil authorities on short notice.
As the Andaman Islands are also endangered by the storm that formed in the Bay of Bengal, the Indian Air Force (IAF) evacuated 21 tonnes of rescue items and 334 NDRF troops to Kolkata and Port Blair on Sunday. According to a report by PTI, the IAF has 11 planes and 25 helicopters on standby to assist with relief efforts.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended a high-level conference to assess the state and federal agencies’ readiness for the cyclone’s predicted landfall. PM Modi demanded that anyone participating in offshore activities be evacuated as soon as possible at the meeting.
He also instructed officials to cooperate closely with state officials to ensure that those living in high-risk regions be safely evacuated.
The navy has deployed eight flood relief teams and four dive teams in Odisha. Meanwhile, the West Bengal administration has set up a control room to monitor the situation at the state secretariat in Nabanna. During this time, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee would remain in the control room.
Cyclone Yaas is expected to make landfall just days after the devastating cyclonic storm Tauktae caused havoc on India’s west coast, leaving a trail of devastation in its wake.
In Gujarat, Goa, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Kerala, the storm killed over 100 people and damaged thousands of homes. A barge sank in the Arabian Sea during the storm, killing at least 70 people.