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Cyclone Fani hits India

Cyclone Fani hits India

With Fani threatening devastation in India and Mozambique still reeling from Cyclone Idai, one of the worst tropical cyclones, Unicef raised alarm about impact of climate change on children.

A petrol station destroyed by winds from Cyclone Fani on the outskirts of Puri on May 3, 2019.

The Indian meteorological department is predicting Fani will hit the coast near the Hindu holy city of Puri by about 0400 GMT in Odisha and then sweep up into West Bengal and reach Bangladesh on Saturday, gradually weakening.

"Heavy rains are expected in all the coastal districts amid fears of flash floods".

A powerful cyclone has torn through India's eastern coastline, causing widespread damage and the evacuation of more than a million people. Indian officials put the navy, air force, army and coast guard on high alert.

Most operations at all the ports on the east coast have been suspended, said Subrat Tripathy, chief executive officer of Dhamra Port in Odisha.

At least six people died in Bhubaneswar, Odisha's state capital, where fallen trees blocked roads and electricity supply was yet to be fully restored.

"More than 100,000 electric poles have been ravaged in Puri and Khurda districts".

It was battering coastal Odisha, Gangetic West Bengal and adjoining area in India, about 140km from Kolkata, on Friday night, the Met Offices of India and Bangladesh said.

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At least 200 trains were canceled across India.

The monster weather system, which threatened to bring a risky storm surge that could flood low-lying areas, was packing winds of up to 180kmh as it ripped into the country's east coast.

The Nepalese government has issued a warning to trekking and climbing companies to ensure the safety of tourists, and cautioned helicopters against flying.

Hundreds of climbers and guides huddled at the base camp, according to Pemba Sherpa of the Xtreme Climbers Trek, who said weather and visibility was poor. May is the best month to climb Everest when Nepal experiences a few windows of good weather to scale the peak. Boundary walls of houses around us have collapsed, trees have been uprooted.

A mix of high-speed computers crunching colossal amounts of weather data and human insights gained through years of experience helped the national weather agency to forecast cyclone Fani's track and behaviour in time for preventive action.

Cyclone season in the North Indian basin typically runs from April to December, with activity peaking in May and November, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Over roughly half a century, 23, or almost 60 percent of the cyclones, to hit India were observed between October and December.

The storm spent days building up strength in northern waters of the Bay of Bengal before making landfall.

Kolkata still reels with the terrible memories of cyclone, "Aila" which wreaked havoc in Sundarbans about 10 years back. With heavy rain and winds more than 170 miles an hour, it killed 10,000 people.