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India on high alert ahead of second powerful cyclone

NEW DELHI: India’s eastern coast was on high alert after Meteorological Department predicted that ‘Cyclone Yaas’ is likely to be very severe with landfall and heavy rain.

According to India’s Meteorological Department, cyclone Yaas is expected to make landfall on Wednesday and could pack sustained winds of up to 165 kph. It said the storm was forecast to hit the eastern states of West Bengal and Odisha.

The spread and intensity of rain will increase on May 26 with the possibility of extremely heavy rainfall in Jhargram, East and West Midnapore, North and South Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly and Kolkata.

Sea conditions will be high to very high in the north Bay of Bengal along and off West Bengal-Odisha-Bangladesh coasts from May 24 to May 26 and fishermen have been advised not to venture into the sea

The state governments have already deployed disaster relief teams for potential rescue and recovery operations and the coastal areas are being evacuated. India’s air force and navy have kept some of the helicopters and vessels ready to carry out relief work.

Indian air force on Sunday airlifted 21 tonnes of relief materials and 334 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel to Kolkata and Port Blair from three different places to tackle the cyclone that is brewing in the Bay of Bengal.

The development came just days after a powerful storm battered the country’s western coast and killed at least 140 people. Nearly 70 of those killed were on board a barge that ripped free of its anchors in the storm and sank off Mumbai’s coast.

Scientists say cyclones in India are becoming more frequent and changing climate patterns have caused them to become more intense. Last May, nearly 100 people died in Cyclone Amphan, the most powerful storm to hit eastern India in more than a decade.