Kolkata, Nov 9 (IANS) One person died when a tree fell on him in Kolkata, as the very severe cyclonic storm Bulbul weakened into a severe cyclonic storm on Saturday evening and started its landfall near Sagar Island in West Bengal's South 24 Parganas district with a gale wind speed of 115-125 km per hour, gusting to 140 km per hour.
Khejuri, Nandgram, Nayachar and Ramnagar in East Midnapore and Kakdweep and Bakkhali in South 24 Parganas districts in the state's coastal region were worst-affected, as trees got uprooted, roofs gave way and houses and shops suffered damage. Power supply was also disrupted in many areas.
"The very severe cyclonic storm Bulbul has weakened into a severe cyclonic storm and started its interaction with the land. The whole process starting with the entry of the forward sector of wall cloud, followed by the centre and the wall cloud at the rear will take three hours to complete," said Regional Meteoroogical Centre director G.C. Das.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who has been personally monitoring the situation along with top officials from the control room at the secretariat Nabanna, said 1,64,315 persons have been evacuated from low-lying areas on the coast.
Bakkhali was ravaged as the rain and storm snapped internet links and telephone lines, while power supply was disrupted from early in the morning. "We are operating a generator. We can provide this service till midnight as all petrol pumps are closed," said a hotel owner.
The fishermen have been barred from venturing into the sea adjoining the Sundarbans delta on Saturday and Sunday.
Hotels in the coasal tourist resorts of Digha, Bakkhali, Mandarmoni, Talsari, Shankarpur and Bakkhali have been largely emptied of tourists.
In south Kolkata's Ballygunge, a youth died when he was crushed under a falling tree. Another tree fell on a car in Regent Park area, but the occupant escaped unharmed.
Flight operations in the city's NSCBI airport have been suspended from 6 p.m. on Saturday to 6 a.m. on Sunday to prevent any damage.
Suburban train services in Lakshmikantapur-Namkhana section of Eastern Railway were halted as a precautionary measure since 7 p.m., while train movement in Baruipur and Diamond Harbour sections were disrupted after an uprooted tree fell on the railway track near Rasulpur.
The South Eastern Railway has also cancelled several trains including Howrah-Panskura Digha local and Panskura-Digha local.
The met office said light to moderate rainfall with isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall is likely to continue over East Midnapore, West Midnapore, North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas during the next 12 hours.
The RMC update expressed apprehension of a storm surge of about one to two metres height in North and South 24 Parganas districts and 0.5 to 1 m height in East Midnapore district above the astronomical tide which is likely to inundate low-lying areas.
The maximum extent of inundation is likely to be around two kilometres over the two Parganas.
The weather office predicted that gale wind speed reaching 110-120 km per hour gusting to 135 km per hour is likely to prevail along and off East Midnapore, West Midnapore, North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas districts during the next six hours and decrease thereafter.