As of 12am on Friday, the storm was centred about 495km southwest of Payra port
Severe cyclonic storm Fani—brewing over the Bay of Bengal—is drawing closer and is likely to hit Bangladesh by Friday night; striking Khulna and adjoining southwestern coastal districts and possibly causing severe damage.
Fani—poised to be the strongest cyclone to hit Bangladesh and India in over a decade—is expected to result in heavy rainfall and cause significant destruction in parts of Bangladesh between Friday and Saturday, weather forecasters have predicted.
Bangladeshi authorities have taken up all-out efforts to minimize the damage from the cyclone, which will cross over Bangladesh after striking the Indian state of Odisha.
Two people died after cyclone Fani slammed into eastern India on Friday, officials said, as the storm sent coconut trees flying, blew away food stands and cut off power and water.
Meteorologist of Bangladesh Meteorological Department Aftab Uddin said as of 12pm on Friday, the storm moved north-northeastwards and crossed Odisha coast (near Puri) of India and located over coastal Odisha and adjoining northwest bay.
The cyclone is now centred about 445km southwest of Mongla port, 495m southwest of Payra port, 660km west-southwest of Cox’s Bazar port and 660km west-southwest of Chittagong port.
It is likely to move in a north-northeasterly direction further, complete crossing Odisha coast of India by afternoon and then moved north-northeastwards over Odisha-West Bengal coastal area, reach khulna and adjoining southwestern part of Bangladesh by midnight.
Khulna and adjoining southwestern coastal regions of Bangladesh may experience the peripheral effects of the cyclone by noon.
Maximum sustained wind speed within 74km/h of the storm centre is about 180km/h rising to 200km/h in gusts/squalls.
The sea will remain very high near the cyclone centre. Maritime ports of Mongla and Payra have been advised to keep hoisted Danger Signal 7.
Coastal districts—of Bhola, Borguna, Patuakhali, Barisal, Pirozpur, Jhalokathi, Bagherhat, Khulna, and Satkhira—and their offshore islands and chars will come under Danger Signal 7.
The maritime port of Chittagong has been advised to keep Danger Signal 6 hoisted. The coastal districts—of Chittagong, Noakhali, Laxmipur, Feni, and Chandpur—plus their offshore islands and chars will come under Danger Signal 6.
The maritime port of Cox’s Bazar has been advised to keep Local Warning Signal 4 hoisted.
Under the influence of the very severe storm and the new moon phase, the low-lying areas of the coastal districts—of Chittagong, Noakhali, Laxmipur, Feni, Chandpur, Barguna, Bhola, Patuakhali, Barisal, Pirozpur, Jhalokathi, Bagherhat, Khulna, and Satkhira—plus their offshore islands and chars are likely to be inundated by a storm surge four-to-five feet higher than normal astronomical tides.
The coastal districts—of Chittagong, Noakhali, Laxmipur, Feni, Chandpur, Borguna, Patuakhali, Barisal, Bhola, Pirozpur, Jhalokathi, Bagerhat, Khulna, and Satkhira—plus their offshore islands and chars are likely to experience wind speeds of up to 80 to 100 km/h in gusts/squalls with heavy to very heavy falls during the passage of the storm.
All fishing boats and trawlers over north bay and the deep sea have been advised to remain in shelter till further notice.
The cyclone’s name, pronounced "Foni," was selected from a list of monikers suggested by Bangladeshi meteorologists, reports India Today.
Control rooms opened for monitoring
Officials at the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief said the government has opened control rooms and taken necessary preparations as the cyclone will strike 19 coastal districts.
Bangladesh has raised the Danger Signal to level 7 at the Mongla and Payra ports; while Danger Signal 6 has been raised in Chittagong port and Danger Signal 4 in Cox's Bazar.
The authorities have shut down water transport services and evacuated hundreds of thousands of people to safety.
Bangladesh Army, Navy, and Air Forces are ready for emergency rescue operations and relief activities, said the Inter Services Public Relations Directorate in a statement on Wednesday.
Weekly holidays have been cancelled for relevant officials in the coastal districts. Local authorities are also making announcements via loudspeakers to raise awareness in the coastal districts. Volunteers of the Cyclone Preparation Program have also been alerted.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal has said the various government departments are ready to minimize losses of lives and properties when Fani strikes.
“All departments—including the coast guard, police, Border Guards Bangladesh, local administration and the Fire Service and Civil Defence—are on high alert to tackle the aftermath of the cyclone, and ensure security at the cyclone shelters,” he said at a press briefing in Dhaka on Thursday.