Kolkata: Scenes of large uprooted trees, damaged houses and flown off roofs were just the beginning when Super Cyclone Amphan made its appearance less that 24 hours back, as it pummeled through the night over Kolkata and large parts of West Bengal it left behind a trail of deaths as at least 12 people were killed.
Scenes from Kolkata airport showed the damage left behind as large airliners stood in a river of water with facilities damaged. This is the most devastating cyclone that struck the city in centuries; some wondered since the 1737 when the Calcutta cyclone killed many, while others said nothing like this have they crossed in the past few decades. Houses were flattened, massive number of trees uprooted as many feared damage to iconic structures in the city as well, and reports still poured in.
Amitav Ghosh, the renowned author, who along with many others tweeted concern for their old parents stuck alone in the city amid the covid-induced lockdown. Ghosh said: “The terror they have been through is evident in their voices,” as he was finally able to touch base with his folks.
With landlines severed and no electricity for hours as the people managed through the raging storm, many tweeted photos of destruction to property, waterlogging right inside their kitchen as they paddled through pools of water. A taxi stand in Maniktala was completely submerged. End of Days-kind of scenes were witnessed as wind at 185 kmph blew through the railings of the iconic Howrah Bridge.
The severe cyclonic storm on Thursday weakened and lay centered over Bangladesh about 270 north-northeastwards of Kolkata with a wind speed of 27 kmph.
The super cyclonic storm Amphan (pronounced as UM-PUN) moved “north-northeastwards with a speed of 27 kmph during the past six hours, further weakened into a cyclonic storm and lay centered at 5.30 a.m. on Thursday over Bangladesh near latitude 24.7eN and Longitude 89.5eE about 270 km north-northeast of Kolkata, 150 km south of Dhubri and 110 km south-southeast of Rangpur (Bangladesh)”, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
“It is very likely to continue to move north-northeastwards and weaken further into a deep depression during the next three hours and into a depression during subsequent six hours,” the IMD said.
Amphan, a Thai name means sky, is the most severe storm in the Bay of Bengal since the Odisha super cyclone of 1999.