Heavy rains lashed coastal Odisha submerging acres of harvest-ready cropland as cyclonic storm Jawad weakened into depression on Sunday.
While coastal areas of West Bengal including Kolkata witnessed incessant rainfall, no major damage was reported.
“The deep depression, remnant of cyclonic storm Jawad is likely to continue to move north-northeastwards, along Odisha coast towards West Bengal coast and weaken into a well-marked low pressure area during next 12 hours,” said India Meteorological Centre said in the evening.
The port town of Paradip recorded 109 mm rainfall in just one hour from 2.30 p.m. to 3.30 p.m. Since 8.30 a.m., the city received a total 201 mm. Ersama, close to Paradip, recorded 188 mm rainfall. During the day, Balikuda, Kujanga and Nuagaon recorded 130 mm, 114 mm and 123 mm rainfall respectively.
The IMD issued an orange warning for Puri, Khordha, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapada, Jajpur, Bhadrak, Balasore, and Mayurbhanj in Odisha for December 6. The weather office also predicted light to moderate rainfall at most places over North and South 24 Parganas, Howrah, Kolkata, Hooghly, Murshidabad and Nadia districts and at many places over rest districts of Gangetic West Bengal.
The unseasonal rain shattered the hopes of farmers in coastal Odisha’s Ganjam, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Bhadrak, Kendrapara and Balasore districts with little hope of salvaging harvest-ready paddy from the inundated fields. At many places, people also failed to shift harvested paddy from the cropland to the threshing floor.
In Ganjam, bundles of harvested paddy crop were seen swept away in the swirling waters. “I had taken a ₹1 lakh loan this year. As the ripened paddy continues to remain under water, I lost all my hopes to harvest it,” said a devastated Sarada Rout, a farmer of Ersama block in Jagatsinghpur district.
The Agriculture Department has warned of ear-head caterpillar infestation after the rain recedes. Farmers were advised to shift harvested paddy to safer place. But, given the amount of rainfall recorded in different coastal districts, farmers said they were not expecting the cropland to get dry in next one week.
As the cyclone weakened, there was breach of embankments at Mousumi Island in Sunderbans, located on the mouth of Bay of Bengal about 120 km from Kolkata. Some areas of Sagar Island in South 24 Parganas were submerged because of enhanced sea activity and rainfall.
About 17,000 people have been evacuated from low lying areas of West Bengal particularly from Kakdwip and Namkhana and islands like Mousuni and Ghoramara. Several teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and West Bengal police have been deployed in the coastal areas of the State.
The regional meteorological centre at Kolkata has predicted enhanced rainfall till Monday. “It is likely to continue to move north-northeastwards, along Odisha coast towards West Bengal coast and weaken into a well-marked low-pressure area around mid-night of 5th December 2021,” a bulletin from regional meteorological center from Kolkata said.
The officials of weather office have predicted squally winds of 40-50 kmph gusting to 60 kmph along and off West Bengal coast during next 24 hours and a gradual decrease from Monday afternoon. There was enhanced wind and sea activity in the coastal areas Digha of South 24 Parganas and Purba Medinipur district.
The State administration has asked tourists not to visit coastal areas such as Digha, Mandarmani, Bakkhali, Frazerganj, and other coastal areas on the weekend and stopped ferry services on the Hooghly River.
The State administration has heaved a sigh of relief over the with weakening of the cyclonic storm Jawad but the concern remains as embankments in the Sunderbans may be breached because of cumulative effect of high tide and enhanced rainfall activity.