Cyclone Yaas: Depression forms over Bay of Bengal, PM takes stock

The deep depression will intensify into Cyclone Yaas, which is very likely to cross north Odisha-West Bengal on the evening of May 26 as a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm.
Cyclone Yaas: A file photo of a police personnel announcing cyclone related warnings at a beach
Cyclone Yaas: A file photo of a police personnel announcing cyclone related warnings at a beach
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The low-pressure area over Bay of Bengal has intensified into a depression, the Indian Meteorological Department has said. The depression will move north-northwestwards and will intensify further into a cyclonic storm by May 24, the IMD added. The cyclonic storm has been named Cyclone Yaas, a name given by Oman, which refers to a fragrant tree, similar to jasmine in English. Cyclone Yaas is very likely to cross north Odisha-West Bengal between Paradip and Sagar islands by evening of May 26 as a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm, the IMD said.

“Latest satellite imageries and Ocean Buoy observations indicate that yesterday’s (May 22) low pressure area which became well marked over east central Bay of Bengal in the same evening has concentrated into a Depression over east-central Bay of Bengal and lay centred at 1130 hrs IST of today, the 23rd May, 2021 near latitude 16.1°N and longitude 90.2°E, about 560 km north-northwest of Port Blair (Andaman Islands), 590 km east-southeast of Paradip (Odisha), 690 km south-southeast of Balasore (Odisha) and 670 km south-southeast of Digha (West Bengal),” a bulletin by IMD on May 23 said.

“It is very likely to move north-northwestwards and intensify into a Cyclonic Storm by 24th May morning and further into a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm during the subsequent 24 hours. 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 said. 

On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high-level meeting to review the preparedness of states and called for timely evacuation of those involved in off-shore activities. He asked officials to work in close coordination with states to ensure safe evacuation of people from high-risk areas, and stressed the need to ensure that time duration of outages of power supply and communication networks are minimum and restored swiftly, a PMO statement said.

He also asked officials to ensure proper coordination and planning with state governments to ensure that no disruption is caused to COVID-19 treatment and vaccination in hospitals. Modi called for involving various stakeholders like coastal communities and industries and directly reaching out to them and sensitising them, the PMO said.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said that the cyclone is expected to cross West Bengal and north Odisha coasts by May 26 evening with the wind speed ranging 155-165 kmph and gusting to 185 kmph. It is likely to cause heavy rainfall in the coastal districts of West Bengal and north Odisha.

The IMD has also warned of storm surge in coastal areas of West Bengal and Odisha. The IMD has been issuing regular bulletins with the latest forecast to all states, the PMO noted.

The Ministry of Home Affairs is reviewing the situation and is in touch with the state governments, union territories and the central agencies concerned.

It has already released the first instalment of SDRF in advance to all states, and the National Disaster Response Force has pre-positioned 46 teams which are equipped with boats, tree-cutters, telecom equipment in five states and UT. In addition, 13 teams are being airlifted on Sunday for deployment and 10 teams have been kept on standby, the PMO noted. Home Minister Amit Shah, other ministers and senior officials attended the meeting.

With PTI inputs

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