Kolkata, Nov 9 (IANS) Amidst a high alert declared in the coastal districts, moderate to heavy rainfall with gale-force wind speeds of 70-80 kmh gusting to 90 kmh was reported from the coastal areas of southern West Bengal, as the Very Severe Cyclonic Storm 'Bulbul' lay centred 140 kms south-southwest of Sagar island on Saturday morning, the Met department said.
In an update on the cyclone at 10.10 a.m., the Regional Meterological Centre here said the storm was now located 100 kilometres south-southwest of the coastal resort of Digha in East Midnapore district.
The storm is likely to weaken gradually and move northeastwards and cross West Bengal-Bangladesh coasts between Sagar island and Bangladesh's Khepurpara across Sundarban delta by Saturday midnight as a Severe Cyclonic Storm with maximum sustained wind speed of 110-120 kilometres per hours, gusting to 135 kilometers per hour.
According to the update, light to moderate rainfall with isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall is continuing over coastal districts of the state. Digha reported seven cm and Canning three cm rainfall till 8.30 a.m. over the past 24 hours.
Gale wind speed 70-80 kmh gusting to 90 kmh per hour is prevailing along and off East Midnapore, 24 Parganas North and 24 Parganas South districts.
The forecast said the gale wind speed is likely to increase gradually becoming 110-120 kmh gusting to 135 kmh along and off East Midnapore, West Midnapore, 24 Parganas North and 24 Parganas South districts from Saturday afternoon for subsequent nine hours.
As a precautionary measure, the state government has declared a high alert in the coastal districts, amidst apprehensions that the storm may impact parts of 24 Parganas North, 24 Parganas South, East Midnapore, West Midnapore, Howrah, Kolkata and Jhargram districts.
The state government has declared holiday in all schools in the seven districts, and asked private school authorities affiliated to various boards to do the same. Launch services on various rivers have been halted.
The disaster response teams have been kept ready with relief and rescue materials to tackle any calamity in the wake of the storm. The central government has been in constant touch with the senior figures of the state administration.
People have been warned not to come close to the sea in the coastal districts.
The fishermen have been barred from venturing into the sea adjoining the Sundarbans delta on Saturday and Sunday.
Tourists in the coastal areas of Digha, Mandarmoni, Talsari, Shankarpur, Bakkhali and Sagar island have also been asked not to take part in any sea-related activities till Sunday.