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Cyclone Bulbul: Heavy rain, high winds hit city

Cyclone Bulbul: Heavy rain, high winds hit city

Kolkata: Heavy rain triggered by very severe cyclonic storm 'Bulbul' on Saturday lashed coastal West Bengal, uprooted trees leading to the death of one person in the city and caused traffic snarls.

Incessant rain since the early hours of Saturday has left parts of Kolkata and its adjoining suburbs with waterlogged streets and overflowing drains, leading to traffic congestion during busy office hours.

The Kolkata Municipal Corporation has put in place a special team who are using high-power pumps to remove water from low lying areas.

A tree on Syed Amir Ali Avenue fell on 28-year-old Sheikh Sohel who was an employee of a private club. He was rushed to a

private hospital where he was declared brought dead. The Debdaru tree got uprooted because of heavy winds and fell on the victim who was entering office. Flight services from Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport have been suspended from 6 pm to 6 am on Sunday.

The state Transport department has deployed 15 buses to ferry passengers who got stranded at the Kolkata Airport. The buses will ply till midnight.

Train services, both long distance and suburban services at Howrah and Sealdah railway stations, were normal.

Ferry services on various rivers were suspended for the day. With evening descending, buses and cabs disappeared from the city roads, which looked deserted. "Kolkata is away from the core area of Bulbul. The impact will be limited to a wind speed of 50-70 kilometre along with heavy rainfall," Regional Meteorological Centre director G C Das said. The river traffic police personnel were seen patrolling near the ghats of river Hooghly.

Mayor Firhad Hakim, who is manning the control room of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation situated in its headquarters on S N Banerjee Road, said the civic authorities are ready to combat the impact of "Bulbul". The KMC teams have been kept on alert to clear the roads that might get blocked due to the falling of trees due to the heavy cyclonic storm.

The civic authorities have requested people living in the low-lying areas to move to local schools. The residents of old and dilapidated buildings have been requested to vacate the premises and take shelter in the nearby schools and community halls, Hakim said.

The city woke up to an overcast sky with erratic winds and moderate to heavy rainfall in some areas. All the schools in the city were closed following an order of the School Education department. Being the second Saturday of November, banks and state government offices also remained closed. The weather forecast predicted a landfall of the cyclone on Saturday night and there were predictions that the city would experience heavy rainfall accompanied by squall with wind speed varying anything between 50 km per hour and 70 km per hour. Many billboards in the city, particularly around Maa Flyover, either fell off or were badly damaged.

Showers were heavy in South Kolkata with Ballygunge pumping station receiving 87 mm rainfall. Manicktala, Belgachia and Thanthania pumping stations received 77 mm, 79 mm and 86 mm respectively. Hakim said all the pumps are functioning normally and steps have been taken to clear the accumulated water from the roads of low-lying areas. He said due to the untimely showers, cases of dengue may go up and all the 15 clinics to detect such cases of the vector-borne disease have been put on high alert.

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