Cyclone ‘AMPHAN’, over the central parts of the South Bay of Bengal and adjoining central Bay of Bengal, has gathered strength and turned into an “extremely severe” cyclonic storm, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Monday and issued an alert for West Bengal and Odisha.

It is expected to make a landfall in Bengal on Wednesday.

The weather department further stated that ‘AMPHAN’ is likely to intensify further as a Super Cyclone.

“The Very Severe Cyclonic Storm ‘AMPHAN’ (pronounced as UM-PUN) over the central parts of South Bay of Bengal moved north-northeastwards with a speed of 13 kmph during past six hours, has intensified into an Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm and lay centred at 0230 hrs IST of today, the 18th May, 2020 over central parts of South Bay of Bengal and adjoining central Bay of Bengal near latitude 12.9 degrees North and longitude 86.4 degrees East, about 820 km nearly south of Paradip (Odisha), 980 km south-southwest of Digha (West Bengal) and 1090 km south-southwest of Khepupara (Bangladesh),” a statement by the India Meteorological Department or IMD read.

the IMD further warned that it is very likely to intensify further during the next six hours.

“It is very likely to intensify further during next six hours. It is very likely to move north-northeastwards and move fast across northwest Bay of Bengal and cross West Bengal – Bangladesh coasts between Digha (West Bengal) and Hatiya Islands (Bangladesh) during the afternoon/evening of 20th May, 2020 as a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm,” the weather department said.

The weather phenomenon will cause heavy rainfall and high-velocity wind in coastal districts of Odisha, West Bengal and Andaman and Nicobar.

The National Disaster Response Force has sent 10 teams to Odisha and seven to West Bengal to tackle the impending cyclone.

Odisha, which was hit by Cyclone Fani last year, has made arrangements to shift 11 lakh people from vulnerable areas, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P K Jena was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

According to experts, North Odisha coast will face the maximum impact of cyclone ‘AMPHAN’ when it makes landfall.

“Wind speed expected to be 110-120 kmph, gusting up to 130 kmph. Balasore, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Mayurbhanj dist can be affected on 20 May (when it makes landfall), IMD Bhubaneswar scientist Umashankar Das told news agency ANI.