The Met Office has advised maritime ports in Bangladesh to hoist distant warning signal No. 2 as Cyclone Asani continued to gather strength in the Bay of Bengal.
Asani intensified further as it moved northwestwards over the bay on Monday and is now being categorised as an 'intense cyclonic storm' by meteorologists. But the forecasts of the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre and the India Meteorological Department (IMD) indicate it will weaken and turn into a cyclone again in the next 48 hours. The cyclone, packing gale-force winds of up to 117kph, was centred about 1,085 km south-southwest of Chattogram port, 1,020 km south-southwest of Cox’s Bazar and Mongla ports, and 995 km south of Mongla port at 6 am, according to a special weather bulletin. All fishing boats and trawlers over the North Bay and deep sea have been advised to remain close to the coast and proceed with caution. They are also advised not to venture into the deep sea as the conditions are expected to be very rough. Heavy rains accompanied by intense lightning flashes and bursts of high winds are likely to occur in the Khulna, Barishal and Chattogram divisions, according to the Met Office. The Indian Met Office expects the storm to come close to the coasts of Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Odisa, to intensify further into a severe cyclonic storm during the next 24 hours and remain in the east-central region of the Bay of Bengal. However, it is unlikely to make landfall and could cut a path similar to Cyclone Jawad that swerved past southern Odisha in December 2021, according to the IMD. "The cyclone will weaken near the coasts of Andhra Pradesh and Odisa before taking a turn to the northeast. Its impact on Bangladesh depends on the direction it takes," said Sanaul Hoque Mondal, deputy director of the Bangladesh Meteorological Department. However, the storm is likely to bring heavy showers in the country's south over the next 24 hours, he added.