Storm lashes Bangladesh, thousands of houses damaged
The deep depression in the Bay of Bengal has created a cyclonic storm and roar into the West Bengal-Bangladesh coast by Monday afternoon. The tropical storm with winds of up to 80 kph (50 mph) lashed southern Bangladesh early on Monday, damaging thousands of homes. Casualty figures were not immediately available, but rescuers said the storm brought down electrical and telephone poles and uprooted trees. Cyclonic storms batter this poor country every year.
The deep depression over the Bay of Bengal grew into Cyclone Reshmi yesterday, and was approaching the country's south-western coast with the possibility of making landfall by noon today.
According to the Met office, the storm has lost much of its strength for expansion. As of last evening, it was spinning over a radius of 250 kilometres. The wind speed at the core was ranging between 60 and 80 kms an hour.
A special warning issued by the Met office said the cyclone was about 460 kms west-southwest off Chittagong port, 435 kms west-southwest off Cox's Bazar and 280 kms southwest off Mongla port.
Moving north-northwesterly at up to 10 kms an hour, it might cross Khulna-Barisal coast in between morning and noon.
Talking to The Daily Star around midnight, weather officials said the chance of the storm gaining strength was little as it was already pretty close to the land.
They said hopefully there would be fewer casualties and minor damage as the Sundarbans might prove a bulwark too strong for Reshmi to wreak havoc.
As per the last release, the cautionary signal for maritime ports was raised to four from three at daytime. The river port authorities were asked to hoist signal number two.
It also said the storm may cause sea surges at least four feet higher than normal astronomical tides.
Besides, heavy rains were forecast to lash the country over the 24 hours that began at 5:00pm yesterday.
Many low-lying areas in Cox's Bazar, Chittagong, Noakhali, Laxmipur, Feni, Chandpur, Barguna, Patuakhali, Barisal, Bhola, Pirojpur, Jhalakathi, Bagerhat, Khulna and Satkhira might be flooded.
Cyclone Reshmi developed from a well-marked depression on the west-central and adjoining northwest Bay over the last three days.
Meanwhile, ceaseless gales and rains crippled life in the capital and elsewhere for the second consecutive day yesterday.
School- and office-goers suffered a lot as road conditions were awful due to rain. Vehicles were hard to find. CNG-run three-wheelers and rickshaws charged almost double their normal fares.
Many had to wait for hours by the roadside and at bus stop during the rush hours. For those who managed to get one it took way longer than usual to reach destination.
The day labourers were forced to stay indoors, and could not go for work for two days in a row.
Inland water transport service remained suspended for the inclement weather.
Mongla port officials said loading and offloading of cargoes were suspended throughout the day.
The warning for the fishing boats and trawlers to keep close to the coast and negotiate the sea cautiously remained in force as the Bay continued to be blustery.
Of 5,000 trawlers of Cox's Bazar, around 4,000 have already come ashore while the rest were due to reach by the evening, according to the Cox's Bazar Boat Owners' Association.