Fears of major disaster go away -The Asian Age

Cyclone Fani has weakened as it moves further inland lessening fears of a major disaster, says Shamsuddin Ahmed, director of Bangladesh Meteorological Department.

However, under the influence of the cyclonic storm, the sky remains overcast.

Rains and thundershowers with gusty winds continue in parts of Bangladesh, according to the latest weather bulletin from the Met office.

The severe cyclonic storm was located over Satkhira, Jashore and Khulna region and adjoining areas at 6 am on Saturday, said the Bangladesh Meteorological Department.

Maximum sustained wind speed within 54km of the cyclone centre is about 62kmph, rising to 88kmph gusts and squalls, it said.

The storm was moving further north after entering Bangladesh.

 “The fear was mostly over as the storm weakened,” said Ahmed.

Rajshahi, Rangpur, Dhaka, Mymensingh as well as Sylhet region is likely to experience heavy rain due to the peripheral effect of the cyclonic storm.

Fani spent days building up power in the northern reaches of the Bay of Bengal before it struck the coast of Odisha at around 8 a.m. Friday, the state-run India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

In India, howling winds gusting up to 200 kph whipsawed trees, uprooting scores, and driving rain impacted visibility, while streets were deserted in the state capital Bhubaneswar and Puri.

Cyclone tracker Tropical Storm Risk put Fani as a powerful category four storm on a scale of one to five. The IMD said the storm later weakened. Close to 60 km inland, winds brought down electricity poles in Bhubaneswar, where authorities had ordered the airport to stay closed. Schools and colleges in Odisha were also shut. A major hospital in the city suffered extensive structural damage but all patients and staff were safe, authorities said.

Heavy rains lashed the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka and a few coastal districts of the country. Seaports have been ordered shut.

Recent technological advances have helped meteorologists predict weather patterns more accurately and prepare.

A super-cyclone battered the coast of Odisha for 30 hours in 1999, killing 10,000 people. In 2013, a mass evacuation of nearly a million people likely saved thousands of lives.

Cyclones typically quickly lose power as they move inland.