An extremely severe cyclone, Amphan, packing winds of up to 190 kmph, battered through West Bengal Wednesday, causing heavy rain and leaving a trail of destruction that left at least two people dead, officials said.
After making landfall at 2.30 p.m. between Digha in West Bengal and Hatiya Island in Bangladesh, cyclone Amphan cut a swathe through the coastal areas, flattening fragile dwellings, uprooting trees and electric poles. At least 6.58 lakh people were evacuated in West Bengal and Odisha before the cyclone struck.
“The forward sector of the wall cloud region is entering into land in West Bengal. The intensity of the cyclone near its centre as the landfall process started was recorded at 160-170 kmph, gusting to 190 kmph,” the weather department said.
Two women were killed in Howrah district and Minakhan area of North 24 Parganas district due to uprooting of trees, an official said. Another death was reported from Basirhat.
The landfall process will continue for about four hours, the Met said after the cyclone hit the land. “We are hopeful that by 7 PM the entire cyclone will enter the land,” they added.
Wind speed in Kolkata and adjoining districts was around 110-120 kmph and several parts of the city faced disruptions in power supply. Several trees were uprooted throughout the city. Also, waterlogging was registered in several parts of the city with water entering the ground floor of several residential and commercial buildings.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has formed a task force spearheaded by Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha, which will monitor relief-and-rescue operations during cyclone Amphan.