Cyclone Bulbul hurtles towards southern coast

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Hindustan Surkhiyan Desk: Cyclone Bulbul is likely to make landfall this evening on the Sundarbans, as it was heading north from its origin in the Bay of Bengal yesterday.

It may hit after the sunset and pass through the coastal areas of Khulna and West Bengal, said Shamsuddin Ahmed, director of Bangladesh Meteorological Department.

It will then remain on course towards the northeast, he said.

The time of landfall depends on whether it will be gaining or losing its velocity, he added.

Stormy rain would be visible in different parts of the country throughout the day, he added.

Meanwhile, the authorities postponed the Junior School Certificate and Junior Dakhil Certificate exams scheduled for today.

Today’s JSC exam would be held on November 12 and JDC on November 14, Ziaul Haque, chairman of Dhaka Education Board, told The Daily Star.

Around 6:00pm yesterday, the “severe cyclone” was centered about 495km southwest of Mongla, 490 km southwest of Payra, 585 km southwest of Cox’s Bazar, and 620km southwest of Chattogram, according to Met office.

“It is likely to intensify further and move in a north/northeasterly direction and may cross West Bengal-Khulna coast by tomorrow [today] evening,” it read.

Maximum sustained wind speed within 74km of the cyclone center was about 120 kph rising to 140 kph in gusts, it added.

Mongla and Payra ports have been advised to hoist danger signal-7, Chattogram danger signal-6, and Cox’s Bazar signal-4, it added.

Due to Bulbul and the moon’s phase, low-lying areas in Chattogram, Noakhali, Laxmipur, Feni, Chandpur, Barguna, Bhola, Patuakhali, Barishal, Pirojpur, Jhalakathi, Bagerhat, Khulna, Satkhira and the offshore islands and chars are likely to be inundated during surges of 5 to 7 feet, said the bulletin.

All fishing boats and trawlers in the region have been advised to remain moored until further notice.

Besides, operation of all kinds of vessels have been prohibited on the rivers by the authorities.

Cyclone centres have been prepared and residents of the coastal region were alerted through megaphones, said officials.

Vacation of employees of offices under the disaster management ministry has been cancelled for November 8-10, says a release of the ministry.

Light to moderate rain or thunder showers accompanied by temporary gusts are likely to occur at many places in Khulna, Barishal and Chattogram divisions, according to forecasts.

Shahadat Hossain, director general of Department of Disaster Management, said 55,000 volunteers of cyclone preparedness programme were alerted and asked to be ready.

“We are taking preparations assuming that it would be a severe cyclone,” he told this paper over phone.

Several hundred tourists have been stranded on the Saint Martin’s island amid bad weather.

The authorities also suspended the traditional Rasha Mela at Dublar Char in the Sundarbans.

Our New Delhi correspondent reports, India has put the army and the air force on standby and deployed the navy as severe cyclone Bulbul hurtled towards West Bengal and Odisha and is likely to hit the two states by early morning on Sunday.

Our correspondents in Bagerhat and Cox’s Bazar contributed to this report.  

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