26 May 2024

Cyclone Remal Can Wreak Havoc; Kolkata Airport to Halt Flights for 21 Hours Beginning Sunday Noon

In anticipation of Cyclone Remal, Kolkata's Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport will halt flight operations for 21 hours beginning Sunday at noon.

"Given the expected impact of Cyclone Remal on the coastal region of West Bengal, including Kolkata, a decision has been made to suspend flight operations from 1200 IST on May 26 to 0900 IST on May 27 due to forecasts of heavy winds and substantial rainfall in Kolkata," stated NSCBI Airport Director C Pattabhi.

Kolkata Port will suspend all cargo and container handling operations 

Additionally, the Kolkata Port will suspend all cargo and container handling operations for 12 hours starting Sunday evening. Port activities will cease from 6 PM on Sunday to 6 AM on Monday, as reported by the news agency PTI, citing port authorities.

The low-pressure area first detected on May 22 in the Bay of Bengal has intensified into a severe system, currently situated in the central Bay of Bengal. Areas expected to be affected include West Bengal, coastal Bangladesh, Tripura, and parts of the northeastern states.

Landfall expected around midnight on May 26

According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), Cyclone Remal is projected to make landfall around midnight on May 26 between Sagar Island in southern West Bengal and Khepupara in Bangladesh. 

Low-lying coastal areas of West Bengal and Bangladesh could be inundated

The cyclone, which strengthened into a Cyclonic Storm "Remal" over the Northwest and adjoining Northeast & East-central Bay of Bengal at 5:30 PM on Saturday, is anticipated to cause a storm surge of up to 1.5 meters, potentially inundating low-lying coastal areas of West Bengal and Bangladesh.

Thousands of people to be evacuated

In preparation, thousands of people are expected to be evacuated to cyclone shelters from coastal villages in West Bengal, with the IMD issuing a red warning for districts including South 24 Parganas, North 24 Parganas, Kolkata, Howrah, and East Midnapore.

Northeastern states will experience rainfall and strong winds

To address the storm's impact, the administration has established around 115 multipurpose cyclone shelters in South 24 Parganas and over 100 shelters in North 24 Parganas. The IMD also forecasts that northeastern states such as Tripura, Assam, Nagaland, and Manipur will experience rainfall and strong winds.

Tripura has issued an advisory

Tripura has issued an advisory based on the IMD's severe weather forecast, with Revenue Department Additional Secretary Dr. Tamal Majumder noting the likelihood of heavy rainfall and gusty winds in isolated areas from May 25 to 28.

Bangladesh is also preparing for the severe cyclonic storm, with nearly 4,000 shelters ready and stocked with dry food supplies and water. The Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) is expected to issue a 'great danger' signal number 10 between midnight and 1:00 AM on Sunday.

This marks the first cyclone in the Bay of Bengal this pre-monsoon season, named Remal, which means "sand" in Arabic, as per the naming system for cyclones in the Indian Ocean region.

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