Cyclone Fani moving towards Bangladesh, no major impact in Bengal

PTI

Kolkata: A traffic police personnel sits inside a kiosk during rainfall, in Kolkata, Friday, May 3, 2019. As Cyclone Fani moved closer, the West Bengal government sounded an alert in coastal East Midnapore and South 24 Parganas districts, asking tourists to leave seaside destinations and directing fishermen not to venture into the sea.(PTI Photo/Swapan Mahapatra)

Kolkata: A traffic police personnel sits inside a kiosk during rainfall, in Kolkata, Friday, May 3, 2019. As Cyclone Fani moved closer, the West Bengal government sounded an alert in coastal East Midnapore and South 24 Parganas districts, asking tourists to leave seaside destinations and directing fishermen not to venture into the sea.(PTI Photo/Swapan Mahapatra)

People of West Bengal heaved a sigh of relief as severe cyclonic storm Fani weakened on Saturday morning and was moving towards neighbouring Bangladesh, a senior official of the regional meteorological centre said.

The city witnessed wind speeds of 30-40 kmph with moderate to heavy rainfall overnight, he said.

There was no report of any casualty or major damage in the districts through which the cyclone passed, officials said.

“Fani is likely to continue to move north-northeastwards and weaken further over the next six hours.

“It is very likely to move further north-northeastwards and enter Bangladesh around noon as a deep depression with wind speeds of 50-60 kmph, gusting to 70 kmph,” Deputy Director General of the Regional Meteorological Centre here Sanjib Bandyopadhyay told PTI.

The very severe cyclonic storm weakened into a severe cyclonic storm over the Odisha coast, before moving further north-northeastwards and entering West Bengal through Kharagpur in West Midnapore around 12.30 am on Saturday.

“It has moved to Arambagh in Hooghly and is now in Nadia district…and is moving towards Murshidabad district,” Bandyopadhyay said.

A senior official said apart from a few mud houses collapsing and trees falling, there were no reports of casualties from any of the districts. “However, we are awaiting further details,” he added.

Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim, along with senior engineers of the civic body and local councillors, was on a night-long vigil in and around the city to keep a tab on the situation.

“We had made arrangements to act on an emergency basis had Fani hit the city. But thank god nothing major has happened,” Hakim told PTI.

Meanwhile, flight operations resumed at the Kolkata airport at 9.57 am on Saturday, an Airports Authority of India (AAI) official said.

Flight services were suspended at the airport from 3 pm on Friday.

Train services on the Sealdah and Howrah sections were also getting back to normal, the officials said.

Five persons were injured when a portion of the roof of a hutment collapsed on Friday night in the central part of the city’s Beniatola Lane, police said.

All five injured persons were released after treatment.

The West Bengal government had taken precautionary measures in East and West Midnapore, North and South 24 Pargana districts, besides Howrah, Hooghly, Jhargram, Kolkata and the Sundarbans.

The cyclone barrelled through Odisha on Friday, unleashing copious rain and windstorm that gusted up to 175 kmph, killing at least eight people, blowing away thatched houses and swamping towns and villages.

(PTI)