Tropical Cyclone Matmo has begun pounding the coast of Odisha in eastern India, as it continues to head towards the northern Bay of Bengal.
Matmo, renamed Bulbul by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), is maintaining its strength and is expected to be a severe storm (equivalent to a Category 1 hurricane) when it makes landfall in India’s West Bengal, late on Saturday.
The Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS) warned that the tropical cyclone “can have a high humanitarian impact based on the maximum sustained winds, exposed population and vulnerability”.
Almost 14 million people will be exposed to the damaging winds generated by Tropical Cyclone Matmo.
The storm will produce heavy amounts of rain, with between 100 and 350 millimetres (0.3 and 1.1 feet) over the next couple of days, which could lead to dangerous flash flooding.
Life threatening storm surge of up to two metres (6.56 feet) above normal tide levels is expected along the coast of West Bengal as the centre of Tropical Cyclone Matmo moves onshore.
Hundreds of fishing boats have been brought in since Friday and remain anchored at jetties along the Bay of Bengal coast and fishermen have been advised to stay onshore until November 12.
The IMD warned of major damage to thatched homes, power lines, trees and coastal crops.
The cyclone is expected to move northeast across coastal areas of West Bengal and then rapidly weaken as it continues to move inland across Bangladesh throughout Sunday.