Environment: Cyclone Amphan tracking northeastward in Bay of Bengal as of early May 20. Landfall is likely in West Bengal State, India, late May 20.

Severity: Critical Alert

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Bangladesh
  • Bhutan
  • Kolkata, West Bengal State
  • Colombo
  • Guwahati, Assam State
  • Bhubaneshwar-Cuttack, Odisha State
  • Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh State
  • Thimphu
  • Haldia, West Bengal State
  • Paradip, Odisha State
  • Darjeeling, West Bengal State
  • Sylhet
  • Jamshedpur (Tatanagar), Jharkhand State
  • Ranchi, Jharkhand State
  • Rourkela, Odisha State
  • Shillong, Meghalaya State
  • Agartala

This alert began 19 May 2020 21:45 GMT and is scheduled to expire 21 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Super Cyclonic Storm Amphan
  • Affected Area(s): Bangladesh, Bhutan, eastern India, western Myanmar (map)
  • Projected Landfall (Date): Southeastern West Bengal State, India, May 20
  • Center of Circulation: 225 km (140 miles) southeast of Paradip, Odisha, India
  • Maximum Sustained Winds: 100 knots (185 kph, 115 mph)

Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm Amphan - a Category-3 major hurricane equivalent - is tracking north-northeastward in the Bay of Bengal. As of 0001 BST May 20, the system's center of circulation was approximately 225 km (140 miles) southeast of Paradip, Odisha, India. The system is forecast to weaken slightly to an Extreme Severe Cyclonic Storm before its projected landfall over southeastern West Bengal State late May 20. The storm will then weaken into a cyclonic storm and then a depression as it traverses Bangladesh, May 21. Amphan is expected to dissipate over Bhutan May 22. There remains uncertainty in the track and intensity forecast, and significant changes could occur in the coming days.

Government Advisories
The India Meteorological Department has issued a heavy rainfall warning for coastal districts of Odisha and West Bengal, as well as areas in sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim and Assam and Meghalaya through May 21. A strong wind warning remains in place for coastal regions of Odisha and West Bengal and rough sea conditions in the Bay of Bengal. Officials also warn of potential storm surges over low-lying areas in the East Medinipur district of West Bengal close to landfall May 20.

Bangladesh Meteorological Department has raised the maritime ports of Mongla and Payra, as well as Satkhira, Khulna, Bagherhat, Jhalokathi, Pirozpur, Borguna, Patuakhail, Bhola, Barishal, Laxmipur, Chandpur to Local Danger Signal Number 7. Additionally, Chattogram, Cox's Bazar, Noakhali, and Feni have been placed under a Local Danger Signal Number 6. The agency also warns of strong winds and adverse seas conditions and advising fishers to remain close to coastal areas.

Bhutan's National Center for Hydrology and Meteorology has issued a storm advisory as of early May 20, warning of moderate-to-heavy thunderstorms and strong winds over the southern and eastern parts of the country.

Authorities could expand, upgrade, or rescind these advisories as the storm progresses. In advance of the storm, at least 2.2 million people across India and Bangladesh have been evacuated, as of early May 20. Additional evacuation orders are possible over the coming days as Amphan nears landfall.

Hazardous Conditions
The storm will continue to bring heavy rainfall, strong winds, and rough seas to coastal areas along the Bay of Bengal through May 21. Forecast models indicate widespread rainfall totals of 10-25 cm (4-10 inches) are likely across Odisha and West Bengal, India, as well as much of Bangladesh. Locally higher totals are possible in areas that experience persistent heavy rain bands. Sustained heavy rainfall could trigger flooding in low-lying communities near streams, creeks, and rivers, as well as in urban areas with easily overwhelmed or a lack of stormwater drainage systems. Sites located downstream of large reservoirs could experience flash flooding after relatively short periods of intense rainfall. Rain-induced landslides are possible in steeply sloped terrains. Flooding could isolate some communities for several days. Coastal flooding may also occur during moderate storm surges. Persistent onshore flow could make it difficult for a surge to recede and for water levels to decrease in coastal river catchments.

In addition to the heavy rain, flooding, and storm surge, the system will produce damaging wind gusts up to 160 kph (100 mph), especially in areas close to the center of circulation. Widespread and prolonged power outages due to uprooted trees and toppled utility lines are likely.

Inclement weather associated with the storm could trigger localized business, transport, and utility disruptions. Impacts from the storm will further exacerbate transportation disruptions already occurring in areas under restrictions due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) activity. Floodwaters and debris flows may render some bridges, rail networks, or roadways impassable, impacting overland travel in and around affected areas. Areal flooding in urban locations could also result in severe traffic congestion, while strong winds will pose a hazard to high-profile vehicles. Heavy rain and low visibility may trigger flight disruptions at regional airports. Hazardous sea conditions could prompt the temporary suspension of ferry services, maritime shipping, and port operations in areas near the storm's path.

Disruptions triggered by inclement weather and resultant hazards, such as flooding, could persist well after conditions have improved. If there is severe damage to infrastructure, repair, or reconstruction efforts may exacerbate residual disruptions.

Stagnant pools of water during and after flooding increase the incidence of insect- and waterborne diseases, such as dengue fever, cholera, and malaria. The threat of these disease outbreaks is usually elevated in the low-income or underdeveloped areas of major urban centers due to the presence of incomplete or open sewer lines. The latent threat of waterborne contaminants from inundated industrial sites cannot be discounted; exposure to raw sewerage and other hazardous materials mixed with floodwaters poses a serious health threat.

Monitor local media for weather updates and related advisories. Prepare for the storm's arrival as early as possible; activate contingency plans if operating in areas where flooding and landslides are possible. Plan for potential delivery delays. Confirm all transport reservations before travel. Stockpile bottled water. Charge battery-powered devices when electricity is available; restrict the use of cellphones to emergencies only. Power down mobile devices when not in use. Keep important documents in waterproof containers. Observe strict food and water precautions. Take precautions against insect- and waterborne diseases in the coming weeks. Keep any necessary medications in a waterproof container.

Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC): www.metoc.navy.mil
Bangladesh Meteorological Department: http://live3.bmd.gov.bd
National Center for Hydrology and Meteorology (Bhutan): www.nchm.gov.bt
Indian Meteorological Department: https://mausam.imd.gov.in
Department of Meteorology and Hydrology (Myanmar): www.moezala.gov.mm