Cyclone Fani, one of the strongest storms to batter the subcontinent in 20 years, uprooted trees and triggered rain as it entered West Bengal this morning, a day after it made landfall in Odisha, where eight people died. Parts of Kolkata and the suburbs also received moderate to heavy rain since Friday afternoon. The cyclone then moved towards Bangladesh but at a reduced wind speed of 90 kmph. At its strongest on Friday, Cyclone Fani reached around 185 kmph as it swept across Odisha. Over 11 lakh people were evacuated from the state. “Spoke to Shri Keshari Nath Tripathi Ji, the Governor of West Bengal on the situation due to Cyclone Fani. Reiterated the Centre’s readiness to provide all help needed to cope with the cyclone. Also conveyed my solidarity with the people of Bengal in the wake of Cyclone Fani,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted this morning.
Cyclone Fani has now been categorised as “very severe” after it relatively weakened on entering West Bengal from remaining on “extremely severe” cyclonic storm category.At least 15,000 people spent Friday night at shelters in coastal East Midnapore district, while 20,000 in shelters at West Midnapore. Kolkata airport opened at 8 am as scheduled. However, some trains could not run after trees fell on the tracks and snapped power lines.
“The severe cyclonic storm Fani entered Bengal at 12:30 am through Odisha’s Balasore. It crossed Kharagpur packing a wind of 70-80 kmph, gusting to 90 kmph,” said Regional Meteorological Centre’s Deputy Director General Sanjib Bandyopadhyay, The storm continued further in north and north-east direction, and reach east Burdwan-Hooghly border before it headed towards Bangladesh, weakening into a cyclonic storm after having triggered rain.In the sea resort of Digha in West Bengal, the wind speed reached 70 kmph in some areas; in Frazerganj it was between 60 and 70 kmph. Kharagpur recorded 95 mm rainfall.
The weather in state capital Kolkata started improving by late morning. The administration in some Bengal districts intermittently switched off electricity as a precaution till the storm passed,
The India Meteorological Department had warned north-eastern states to be on alert as after crossing Bangladesh Cyclone Fani may enter the region.
At least 15 people were killed in separate incidents in Odisha, . A teenager was killed when a tree came crashing down on him in Puri. Flying debris from a concrete structure hit a woman in Nayagarh district. In Kendrapara, a 65-year-old woman died after suspected heart attack at a cyclone shelter.Cyclone Fani is the strongest cyclonic storm since the Super Cyclone of 1999, which claimed close to 10,000 lives and battered the Odisha coast for 30 hours. The Meteorological Department said it is the first cyclonic storm of such severity in April in India’s oceanic neighbourhood in 43 years.
The name ”Fani”, which is pronounced as “Foni”, was suggested by Bangladesh. Roughly translated, “Fani” means the hood of a snake, according to reports.