The ‘very severe’ Cyclone Fani is likely to enter West Bengal with a wind speed of 90-100 kmph gusting to 115 kmph by midnight to Saturday early morning.

The storm, which crossed the Odisha coast near Puri, would enter West Bengal as a severe cyclonic storm and the gale would start from Friday evening in the coastal districts adjacent to neighbouring Odisha, an official said.

“Extremely severe cyclone Fani crossed the Odisha coast near Puri with the eye of the storm over land, however over the last hour or so the storm has weakened into a severe cyclonic storm,” Regional Meteorological Centre’s Director Sanjib Bandyopadhyay told reporters.

“It is currently situated at about 370 km southwest of Kolkata and 227 km southwest of the East Midnapore district sea resort Digha. It will move in north-northeast directions to enter the state,” He said.

He said the storm would “emerge into Gangetic West Bengal as a severe cyclonic storm with wind speed of 90-100 kmph gusting to 115 kmph and the gale will reach maximum velocity around late midnight to early morning Saturday”.

He added that the storm would further weaken into a cyclonic storm by afternoon or evening on Sunday and move to Bangladesh with a wind speed of 60-70 kmph.

“The outer ring cloud band has already reached the coastal areas of West Bengal and Kolkata, prompting rainfall. The rain intensity will be gradually increasing. As the cyclone comes closer to Bengal it will have a speed of 80-100 kmph,” weatherman JK Mukhopadhyay said.

Normal life in and around Kolkata was thrown out of gear on Friday as cyclonic storm ‘Fani’ made landfall in neighbouring Odisha. Squally winds and rains hit Kolkata leading to waterlogging and traffic congestion.

Coastal areas of the state also experienced heavy rains along with strong winds.

A red alert has been issued in coastal areas and fishermen have been asked not to venture into the sea.

In order to tackle any emergency situation, six National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams have been deployed at Sankrail in Jhargram district, Narayangarh Block in West Medinipur, Ramnagar in East Medinipur, Kakdwip in South 24 Parganas, and Dhamakhali and Hasnabad in North 24 Parganas district.

The Director General of Civil Aviation has issued a revised advisory to all airlines to discontinue flight operations from Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport between Friday 3 pm and Saturday 8 am.

All government and government-aided schools have suspended classes from Friday and the Health Department has cancelled leave of doctors and the staff till May 6.

All precautionary measures like flight cancellation at airports, cancellation of trains and water transport services have been undertaken.

The state government and the Kolkata Municipal Corporation have decided to shift people living in low lying areas to safer places.

Meanwhile, in view of the storm heading towards West Bengal, many political parties have cancelled their election programmes for the next 24 hours.

West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee has cancelled all her political meetings for the next 48 hours.

The Kolkata Municipal Corporation has formed a team along with various departments like the Police and Disaster Management to monitor the measures being initiated to prevent any untoward happenings.

A toll-free helpline number 1070 has been shared for assistance.

(With agency inputs)