Heavy rains and high-velocity winds triggered by the very severe cyclonic storm 'Bulbul' lashed coastal Odisha on Saturday claiming one life, uprooting
trees and snapping road links. One person died in a wall collapse in Kendrapara district of coastal Odisha, where some areas were pounded by heavy to very heavy rains, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P K Jena said.
Most places on the coast experienced light to moderate rainfall, he said adding paddy and other crops in 35 to 40 per cent area over six lakh hectare agriculture land have been damaged due to the downpour triggered by the cyclone.
The cyclonic winds uprooted a large number of trees and electric poles, besides causing extensive damage to thatched structures and standing crops before veering away towards West Bengal, he said.
The landfall of the cyclone is expected between Sagar Islands of West Bengal and Khepupara in Bangladesh on Saturday night and move northwestwards into the neighbouring country over the Sundarbans delta, the Met department said.
Jena said several areas in Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Balasore, Mayurbhanj, Jajpur and Bhadrak have been hit by the cyclonic winds. It also damaged the power infrastructure in Balasore, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar districts.
National Disaster Response Force and the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force personnel are working on a war footing to clear roads of uprooted trees and ensure smooth traffic in the affected areas at the earliest, he said.
Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy said the state government has initiated steps for proper assessment of damage caused by the cyclonic winds.
Director of Bhubaneswar Meteorological Centre, H R Biswas said the very severe cyclonic storm 'Bulbul' was centred over Bay of Bengal, about 175 km east-northeast of Paradip and 125 km east-southeast of Balasore in Odisha at around 6 pm.
"The cyclone is being tracked by the Doppler Weather Radars at Gopalpur, Paradip and Kolkata in addition to other observing platforms," he said.
Gale force winds reaching speeds of 70-80 km per hour with gusts up to 90 kmph were experienced in Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Balasore and Bhadrak districts, while squally conditions prevailed in most coastal areas, Biswas said.
Jena said Rajnagar block in Kendrapara district recorded the maximum rainfall of 180 mm, Chandbali in Bhadrak registered 150 mm and Tirtol in Jagatsinghpur district 100 mm since Friday.
The port town of Paradip recorded a rainfall of around 160 mm, Chandbali 143 mm during this time span, he said adding Dhamra in Bhadrak district experienced wind speeds of 110 kmph.
Around 4,000 people have so far been evacuated from vulnerable and low-lying areas on the state's coastal region and sent to 47 cyclone shelters, officials said.
The SRC said as many as 43 fishing vessels with 381 fishermen from West Bengal have been sheltered at Dhamra harbour and nearby Talchua.
Nine persons aboard a fishing boat were rescued and shifted to safety after their vessel met with a mishap in the sea near Dhamra, he added.