With Cyclone Fani expected to trigger heavy showers in the coastal districts, the weather department has asked tourists coming to West Bengal not to go near the sea between 2 and 4 May. Fani alert has been sounded for fishermen too who have been warned not to venture into the seas from 2 May in view of the developing severe cyclonic storm when wind speeds may go up to 110-115 km per hour.

All fishermen who are out in the sea have been asked to return to the shore by Wednesday, and stay put till further notification.

“Fishermen have been asked not to venture out to sea from May 2. The tourists who are visiting the coastal areas of West Bengal, have been asked to stay away from the sea from May 2-4,” said an official.

Directives have been issued to the East Midnapore district administration to take all preventive measures. A strong vigil will be maintained on Digha, Mandarmani and other beaches to stop visitors from bathing in the turbulent sea. No water sports activities will be allowed either.

Fishermen associations have been told not to sail any boat during the period.

On Monday, a high-level meeting was held at the state secretariat in Kolkata to discuss emergency measures and arrangements to be made to tackle any effects of Cyclone Fani. The meeting was presided over by Chief Secretary Malay De, and attended by all government departments concerned and senior officials of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation.

Cyclone Fani is likely to affect the coastal and riverine areas like Howrah, Hooghly, East Midnapore and South 24-Parganas most. Northern Bengal could also be hit on 3 May.

At the KMC headquarters in Kolkata, Municipal Commissioner Khalil Ahmed took part in deliberations with senior officials from the departments concerned. It was decided that the KMC parks and gardens department should keep its workforce and machinery ready to remove uprooted trees and broken branches, if required. Building, lighting, sewerage, drainage
and solid waste management departments have also been asked to attend to emergency situations without delay.

The cyclone, which was around 1,170 km away from Kolkata on Monday, is expected to move in a north-east direction and make landfall on the Odisha coast on May 3. Heavy showers are predicted over West Bengal on 3 and 4 May, while thunderstorms with gusty wind speed reaching 30-40 kms per hour with lightning are likely at a few places over East and West Midnapore, North and South 24-Parganas, and Jhargram districts of Gangetic West Bengal on Wednesday.

On 2 May, the weather office said, thunder squalls with wind speeds reaching 50-60 km per hour accompanied by lightning were likely at one or two places over the districts of Gangetic West Bengal. For 3 May, the weather office
has forecast heavy rains of 7-11 cm at a few places over the coastal districts of Gangetic West Bengal, along with squally wind blowing at 60-70 km per hour, gusting to 85 km per hour.

There are heavy rainfall warnings for the south Bengal districts on 4 May when thunderstorms with wind speed reaching up to 110-115 km per hour may hit the coastal districts.

(With agency inputs)