After wreaking havoc in Odisha, Cyclone Fani entered West Bengal post Friday midnight, lashing its coastal areas with heavy rains. The weather office said the extremely severe cyclonic storm had relatively weakened and transformed into “very severe” when it approached Bengal. With wind gusting at over 100 kmph, accompanied by heavy rains, Cyclone Fani effects were felt at Digha, Mandarmani, Tajpur and Contai.
The cyclonic storm also made its presence felt in Kharagpur and Burdwan where several trees were uprooted. Parts of Kolkata and its suburbs received moderate to heavy rainfall.
No loss of life or any injury has been reported so far from any part of the state.
“The severe cyclonic storm Fani entered Bengal at 12.30 a.m. through Odisha’s Balasore. It crossed Kharagpur packing a wind of 70-80 kmph, gusting to 90 kmph,” said Sanjib Bandyopadhyay, Deputy Director General of Regional Meteorological Centre.
He added: “It is likely to continue further in north, north east direction, and reach the east Burdwan-Hooghly border, and through Nadia go to Bangladesh on Saturday afternoon, weakening into a cyclonic storm, after having triggered rains.”
In the coastal town of Digha, the wind speed reached 70 kmph.
More than 1800 people in Kolkata had been moved to safer places prior to the arrival of the cyclone.
Officials at Nabanna, the state government headquarters, had ordered the KMC and the police to take steps to deploy cranes and evacuate residents from the top floor of the high rises in Chowringhee to safer places with immediate effect.
Sources at Nabanna said more than 45, 000 people across the state had been taken to safer places.
In East Midnapore, about 23, 680 people were evacuated. About 5,945 and
13,944 were evacuated in South and North 24 Parganas, respectively.
In Kolkata, about 1821 people had been moved to safer places to ward off any calamitous effect, said a Nabanna official.
Most shops and malls had been shut down in Kolkata and hoardings were pulled down.
A severe storm, which lasted barely 20 seconds, damaged 40 houses and uprooted several trees at Bidhannagar and Vidyasagar University
area at around 9.30 am, in Midnapore town, on Friday.
Another storm occurred at Sankaribazar under Dantan police station limits in West Midnapore around 10.30 am. “A sudden storm lasting about 15 to 20 seconds lashed the area and damaged six houses and uprooted a few trees. “The storm was similar to a tornado. A traditional funnel shape rapidly rotating column of dark air came down from the sky and made the destruction,” said a local resident.
No flights departed or arrived at Kolkata airport from 3 pm on Friday to 8 am on Saturday.
According to reports, flight operations have resumed at the Kolkata airport now.