A cyclone in the Bay of Bengal has forced the Meteorological Department to advise Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar maritime ports to hoist danger signal No. 7.
Its Storm Warning Centre Deputy Director Shamsuddin Ahmed on Wednesday night told bdnews24.com the signals were upgraded after a deep depression in the sea intensified into the cyclonic storm, ‘Komen’.
A Met office bulletin said the cyclone was likely to move north and might cross the Barisal-Chittagong coast by Thursday afternoon.
On Wednesday night, ‘Komen’ was centred at about 110 km southwest of Chittagong port, 105 km west-northwest of Cox’s Bazar port, 170 km southeast of Mongla port and 85 km southeast of Payra port.
All fishing boats, trawlers and marine vessels were advised to return to safety and remain in shelter until further notice.
For seaports, danger signal seven implies that a storm, packing winds between 62-88 kph, of slight or moderate intensity may cross over or near them and will result to severe weather.
Apart from Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar, the Met office also advised danger signal No. 7 for Noakhali, Lakshmipur, Feni, Chandpur, Bhola and their offshore islands and chars.
Coastal districts such as Barguna, Patuakhali, Barisal, Pirojpur, Jhalakathi, Bagherhat, Khulna, Satkhira and their offshore islands and chars were also advised to hoist danger signal No. 5.
The bulletin also said three to five feet high tides may inundate the low-lying areas.
On Wednesday evening, meteorologist Abul Kalam Mallik also told bdnews24.com the monsoon depression may make landfall by Thursday afternoon in Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar and Barisal.
The Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief has ordered the local administrations to take measures to tackle the cyclone in the coastal areas.
The ministry’s Cyclone Preparedness Programme (CPP) policy committee and implementation board held a meeting Wednesday night in Dhaka as the situation deteriorated in the Bay.
The measures include relocating people and livestock from the risky areas, prepare the storm shelters, and having medical teams and local hospitals and volunteers at the ready for any emergencies.
Cox’s Bazar’s acting Deputy Commissioner Anupam Saha told all educational institutions in the district were announced closed until further notice.
After a meeting of the local disaster management committee around 9pm, he said the schools would be used as shelters when the cyclone hit the coast.
Local officials started alerting the people in rural areas around 10pm using loudhailers.
Chairman of Saint Martin’s Island, an Upazila in the Bay of Bengal, Nurul Amin told bdnews24.com several tin-shed houses were destroyed in the strong wind. But there were no casualties.
The ministry has asked the district administrations of Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar, Rangamati and Bandarban to be alert to any landslides.
Control rooms were also opened at the coastal districts to supervise the countermeasures for cyclone ‘Komen’.