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26 May 2024 | 03:34 AM UTC

Bay of Bengal: Tropical Cyclone Remal tracking northward over Bay of Bengal early May 26 /update 1

Tropical Cyclone Remal tracking northward over Bay of Bengal early May 26. Landfall forecast over West Bengal State, India, late May 26.


Tropical Cyclone Remal is tracking northward over the northern part of the Bay of Bengal early May 26. As of 09:00 BST, the storm's center of circulation was approximately 361 km (224 miles) south of Kolkata, India.

Forecast models indicate that the system will strengthen slightly and make landfall over West Bengal State, India, near the border with Khulna Division in Bangladesh, late May 26. The storm will weaken as it tracks north-northeastward over central Khulna Division through the evening of May 27 before weakening further into a deep depression as it tracks over Dhaka Division through early May 28, dissipating over far western Sylhet Division. The storm's track and intensity forecast remains somewhat uncertain, and changes may occur over the coming hours and days.

As of early May 26, the Bangladesh Meteorological Department had advised the maritime ports of Mongla and Payra to hoist Danger Signal No. 7 (level 7 on a 10-tier scale) and Chattogram and Cox's Bazaar to hoist Danger Signal No. 6 due to the system's approach. Rainfall totals of 4.4-8.8 cm (1.7-3.5 inches) and localized higher amounts are forecast over much of Bangladesh during the passing of the storm, and a storm surge of around 0.9-1.5 meters (3-5 feet) is forecast in coastal areas. Authorities have advised all vessels in the North Bay and the deep sea to remain in port until further notice. The Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) suspended river transport operations in coastal areas from late May 25.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has warned of heavy rainfall and strong winds over parts of West Bengal, Odisha, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Assam, Meghalaya, and Arunachal Pradesh states over the coming days, as well as storm surge of up to around 1 meter (3 feet) in coastal areas of West Bengal around the time the storm makes landfall. The IMD has issued red strong wind warnings (the highest level on a three-tier scale) over Gangetic West Bengal State May 26 and red heavy rainfall, thunderstorm, and lightning warnings over Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, and Tripura states May 27. Orange heavy rainfall, thunderstorm, and lightning warnings are in place over Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, and Tripura states May 26, over Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Sikkim, and West Bengal May 27, over Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Sikkim, and northern West Bengal May 28, and over Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, and Meghalaya May 29. Yellow thunderstorm, lightning, and strong wind warnings are in place over much of the rest of eastern and northeastern India May 25-30. Officials will likely issue new alerts or update/rescind existing advisories as the storm progresses.

Authorities in Bangladesh have advised officials in Satkhira, Bagerhat, Khulna, Barguna, Patuakhali, and Bhola districts of coastal Barisal and Khulna divisions to take special precautions ahead of the storm's arrival; some 4,000 storm shelters have been established in these areas. Authorities in India's West Bengal State plan to evacuate around 8,000-10,000 people from low-lying at-risk coastal areas of the state.

Officials at Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport (CCU) in Kolkata have announced that flight operations will be suspended at the airport from 12:00 IST May 26 through 09:00 IST May 27. Several local trains in Sealdah and Howrah divisions connecting Kolkata and Howrah with the adjoining districts were also canceled. The Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port in Kolkata is suspending all operations from the evening of May 26 through at least early May 27. Flight disruptions at other airports in the region, train disruptions, and temporary closures of other ports are also possible.

Sustained heavy rainfall could trigger flooding in low-lying areas and those with easily overwhelmed drainage systems. Flash flooding, landslides, and additional evacuations are possible if weather conditions prove hazardous.

The inclement weather could trigger localized business, transport, and utility disruptions, rendering some bridges or roadways impassable. Stagnant pools of water during and after flooding may increase the incidence of insect- and waterborne diseases, such as dengue fever, cholera, and malaria. Any raw sewage and other hazardous materials mixed with floodwaters would pose a serious health threat.

Activate contingency plans in areas where officials forecast adverse weather conditions. Heed any evacuation orders that are issued. Use extreme caution in low-lying coastal areas and near streams, creeks, and other waterways due to the potential for severe flooding and storm surge. Stockpile water, batteries, and other essentials in advance. Charge battery-powered devices when electricity is available; restrict the use of cellular phones to emergencies only. Power down mobile devices when not in use. Keep important documents and necessary medications in waterproof containers. Take precautions against insect- and waterborne diseases in the coming weeks.

Plan accordingly for protracted commercial, transport, and logistics disruptions in areas in the path of the storm, especially if vital infrastructure is damaged. Seek updated information on road conditions before driving or routing shipments through areas where flooding has occurred. Confirm flights before checking out of hotels or driving to the airport; clearing passenger backlogs may take several days in some locations.