Cyclone Amphan, moving at a speed of 220 to 230 kilometres (137-143 miles) per hour, is forecast to be the worst storm over the Bay of Bengal since the 1999 super cyclone that hit Odisha.
Seventeen teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed in Odisha and West Bengal in view of the approaching Cyclone Amphan.
The task of authorities is complicated by the need to follow precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, with infection numbers still soaring in both countries and hospitals struggling to cope.
Fishing activity suspended
India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a warning to suspend all fishing activity in West Bengal and Odisha till May 20, in the wake of super cyclone
As a result, all fishing activities have been suspended in both the states until the date, according to reports.
Kolkata was battered by heavy rain and the muddy Hooghly river was rising under dark skies, while in the coastal resort of Digha, large waves were pounding the shore.
The cyclone has the potential to cause extensive damage in the coastal districts of West Bengal, an official statement by the government said.
"Amphan" will cause heavy to extremely heavy rainfall in the coastal districts of West Bengal, it added.
Bangladesh's low-lying coast, home to 30 million people, and India's east coast are regularly battered by cyclones that have claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in recent decades.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have reviewed the preparedness fo the storm and spoken to West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
Shah assured both the chief ministers that the Centre was committed to helping the state and already teams of NDRF have been deployed.
NASA Earth Observatory captures Amphan
This NASA Earth Observatory image obtained May 20, 2020, shows Tropical Cyclone Amphan at 16:15 Universal Time (9:45 p.m. India Standard Time) on May 19, as it moved north-northeast over the Bay of Bengal. The image is a composite of brightness temperature data acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite, overlaid on Black Marble nighttime satellite imagery.
Cyclone Amphan, one of the most powerful in decades, made landfall in eastern India on Wednesday packing winds of up to 190 kilometres (120 miles) per hour, an official said. "The cyclone has made landfall. The eye is over Sagar Island" on the coast,