Yaas has continued to organize as it slowly moves northward in the Bay of Bengal at a speed of 4 mph (7 kph), currently it is 416 miles (670 km) north-northwest of Port Blair (Andaman Islands), 304 miles (490 km) south-southeast of Paradip (Odisha), 367 miles (590 km) south-southeast of Balasore (Odisha) and 360 miles (580 km) south-southeast of Digha (West Bengal). In terms of current estimates, Force Thirteen have the storm as a 60 mph (100 kph) tropical storm (1-min winds), while the India Meteorological Department have the storm as a 50 mph (83 kph) cyclonic storm (3-min winds). Both IMD and Force Thirteen has stood firm on their forecasted peak intensity for now with IMD forecasting a 3-minute winds peak of 100 mph (160 kph) and Force Thirteen forecasting a 1-minute winds peak of 105 mph (170 kph).
The IMD has also issued several warnings for rainfall and winds for Odisha, West Bengal and Sikkim as can be seen below:
In Odisha, 60 teams of the state’s disaster response force have been deployed at the vulnerable places in the districts likely to be affected by the cyclone in conjunction with 18 teams of the central government’s National Disaster Response Force to conduct and ensure a smooth evacuation and mitigation operations across the state ahead of the cyclone’s arrival. Arrangements have also been made to ensure adequate alternative power sources are available to oxygen plants so that hospitals that handle covid-19 patients will still have enough oxygen supplies for the patients even during the cyclone’s passage.
In West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has held a meeting with district magistrates, superintendents of police and the disaster management team to review the state’s preparedness plans for the cyclone’s upcoming passage. She later said that the plans were extensively reviewed during the meeting with senior officials from both central and state agencies present, all the while the state relaxed its covid-19 lockdown protocols just today.
Meanwhile in Bangladesh, the country’s meteorological department has advised on the hoisting of distant warning signal No. 2 in Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar, Mongla and Payra. While the 75,000 volunteers of the Cyclone Preparedness Programme (CPP) of the Red Crescent Society of Bangladesh have been put on standby across the country’s coastal areas, despite the nation being forecasted to only receive moderate impacts from the storm cyclone shelters three times more than required are being prepared as a precautionary measure as well as keeping in mind the health guidelines of the coronavirus pandemic.
As times tick by it’s prudent to follow official instructions on preparation measures to ensure your own and your loved ones’ safety throughout the storm’s passage over the next few days. Although the potential for destructive winds remained the cyclone’s main threat will arise from the substantial amounts of rainfall that’ll fall on the region over the next few days with around 10 inches (250 mm) or even more to fall over the region, an amount that will almost certainly cause severe flooding and landslides across the affected region. Another concern will come from storm surge which is currently forecasted to go as high as 3,8 meters in areas close to where the storm could make its landfall.
Featured image by: INSAT-3DR