Cyclone Bulbul is likely to hit coastal areas of Bangladesh's Khulna and India's West Bengal by Saturday evening, according to the Bangladesh Meteorological Department.
It's heading towards the coastal regions with a maximum sustained wind speed of 130 kmph rising to 150 kmph in gusts, it said.
The ‘very severe’ cyclonic storm surged northwards over the Bay of Bengal was centred about 280 to 475 km south-west of the maritime ports of Mongla, Payra, Chattogram and Cox’s Bazar at 12pm on Saturday.
The Met Office has advised the maritime ports of Mongla and Payra to hoist Great Danger Signal No. 10
It has issued Great Danger Signal No. 9 for Chattogram while the Cox’s Bazaar port was advised to hoist Local Warning Signal No. 4.
Under the influence of the storm and the moon phase, the low-lying areas of the coastal districts of Chattogram, Noakiiali, Laxmipur, Feni, Chandpur, Barguna, Bhola, Patuakhali, Barishal, Pirojpur, Jhalakathi, Bagerhat, Khulna, Satkhira and their offshore islands and chars are likely to be inundated by storm surge of 5-7 feet high above normal astronomical tide.
In Saturday’s weather forecast, the Met Office said light to moderate rain or thundershowers accompanied by temporary gusty or squally wind is likely to occur at most places over Rajshahi, Dhaka, Khulna, Barishal and Chattogram divisions and at many places over Rangpur, Mymensingh and Sylhet divisions with moderately heavy to very heavy falls at places over the country.
Authorities have so far evacuated about 300,000 people from its low-lying coastal villages and islands, according to officials.
Authorities have suspended a nationwide school test, cancelled the holidays of officials posted in coastal districts and called off a traditional fair that draws tens of thousands of people in the Sundarbans.
State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Enamur Rahman told a news briefing in Dhaka that “adequate measures” have been taken to tackle the storm.
However, there is no possibility of major damage except “a little” to the crops, he said.
Around 56,000 volunteers are ready to provide help, he said adding that preparations are in place to evacuate people to safe shelters before the cyclone makes landfall.
A total of 2,000 packets of dry food have already been supplied to the areas, according to the state minister.
The officials and employees under the Water Development Board in these districts have been asked to stay in the workplace until Nov 16 so that they could take part in an emergency rescue mission in the event of cyclone causing any havoc.
The government weekly holiday of Saturday and that of Eid-e-Mildunnabi on Sunday have been cancelled for the government employees in the seven vulnerable districts and six others, which are Noakhali, Feni, Laxmipur, Chandpur, Cox’s Bazar, and Chattogram.
The authorities have suspended all sorts of activities at three maritime ports and inland water transportation until further notice.
All the ships have been asked to move from the jetties to the outer anchorage.