Cyclone ‘Amphan’ is turning out to be of much greater magnitude than initially estimated. Originally assessed as an extremely severe cyclonic storm (ESCS), it is now showing signs of becoming a super cyclonic storm, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Monday morning.
“The system turned into an extremely severe cyclonic storm at about 02.30 hours today. But it is now steadily gathering more strength as it moves in the sea and could assume the proportions of a super cyclonic storm in the next 12 hours with the wind speed reaching 220-240 km/hr gusting up to 265 km/hr at the time of landfall on May 20 evening. There is, however, not much change in the prediction for Odisha and West Bengal at the moment,” IMD Director General (DG) DR. Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said this morning.
The wind speed, when the system crosses the north Odisha coast, was initially estimated to be 75-85 km/hr, gusting up to 95 km/hr. But it has now been revised upwards to 110-120 km /hr, gusting up to 135 km/hr.
Notwithstanding the IMD DG’s assurance, the word ‘super’ before cyclone is bound to spread panic and revive the dreadful memories of the Super Cyclone of October 29, 1999; It is the worst natural disaster in the living memory of coastal Odisha, which bore the brunt of the cyclone.
The IMD said in a bulletin this morning that ‘Amphan’ was moving nearly northwards at a speed of 13 kmph during the past six hours and lay centred over west-central and adjoining central parts of south Bay of Bengal, about 790 km south of Paradip (Odisha), 940 km south-southwest of Digha (West Bengal)and 1060 km south-southwest of Khepupara (Bangladesh) at 5.30 am today. It is likely to intensify further into a super cyclonic storm during the next 12 hours, it further said.
“It is then likely to move north-north-eastwards across the northwest Bay of Bengal and cross West Bengal-Bangladesh coasts between Digha (West Bengal) and Haliya Islands (Bangladesh) on May 20 evening with maximum sustained wind speed of 155-165 kmph gusting up to 165 kmph,” the bulletin added.