Tropical Cyclone “Matmo” (Bulbul) makes landfall over Indo-Bangladesh coast


Authorities have ordered evacuation for around 500 000 people from the low-lying coastal villages and islands of Bangladesh in preparation for Tropical Cyclone "Matmo," renamed Bulbul by the India Meteorological Department (IMD). The cyclone made landfall Saturday night, November 9, 2019, over Indo-Bangladesh coast as Severe Cyclonic Storm. It crossed the coast abeam Sagar Islands with winds up to 120 km/h (75 mph) and gusts up to 130 km/h (81 mph).

IMD has asked local authorities and two ports to raise their highest alert as the storm is expected to spawn a storm surge as high as 2 m (7 feet) in coastal districts, with a maximum wind speed of 120 km/h (75 mph). Flooding, heavy rain, and damaging winds are all threats through Sunday, November 10.

Tropical Cyclone "Matmo" on November 9, 2019. Credit: NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP / VIIRS

Matmo, currently the equivalent of a Category 1 cyclone, is centered 88 km (55 miles) South Southeast of the coastal town of Digha, moving north at 16 km/h (10 mph). The cyclone is set to make landfall somewhere along the Bay of Bengal coast of eastern India by Saturday night.

As of 18:21 LT, Matmo's present intensity is 125 to 135 km/h (78 to 84 mph), gusting to 150 km/h (93 mph). It is likely to weaken gradually and move northeastwards and cross West Bengal-Bangladesh coasts between Sagar Island and Khepupra.

During the next 6 to 12 hours, places including Digha, Sagar Islands, Midnapore, Kolkata, Hooghly, Howrah 24 South Parganas, Purba Medinipur, and adjoining areas would see very heavy rains.

Rainfall totals of 76 to 254 mm (3 to 10 inches) with locally higher amounts are expected over West Bengal state into parts of southwest and central Bangladesh, possibly as far north as the megacities of Kolkata and Dhaka. Significant damage to homes, electric lines, trees, and crops is also forecasted.

According to disaster management secretary Shah Kamal, there are plans to displace around 1.5 million people before Matmo is expected to hit the Bangladesh coast at around 20:00 LT.

Authorities have already suspended a nationwide school test, canceled holidays of officials in coastal districts, and canceled a traditional fair that would be attended by around 10 000 people in the Sundarbans. Moreover, operations at Mongla and Chittagong, the nation's two major ports, have also been suspended.

Around 55 000 volunteers have been deployed to go door-to-door and warn people of the storm.

Strong cyclones commonly pound the country's low-lying coast, which is home to 30 million people. The storms usually leave a trail of devastation in their wake. Over the past few decades, hundreds of thousands of residents have died in such calamity. Fortunately, Bangladesh has improved its disaster preparedness, lowering the number of fatalities since 2007 Cyclone Sidr, which killed over 3 000.

Early cyclone warning systems have also improved, giving authorities more time to alert and displace residents. Shelters have been built over the past years, and officials have ordered school buildings and mosques to be used as a refuge in addition.

In May 2019, Tropical Cyclone "Fani," the most powerful storm to hit the country in five years, struck the area and killed over a dozen people.


Matmo made landfall over Indo-Bangladesh coast as Severe Cyclonic Storm, crossing the coast abeam Sagar Islands with heavy rain and winds up to 120 km/h (75 mph), gusting up to 130 km/h (81 mph).

"The next 6 to 8 hours continue to be crucial for West Bengal as Bulbul would take another six hours to weaken into Cyclonic Storm after crossing the coast," Skymet Weather meteorologists said.

"Thus, the next 12 hours will be crucial. Storm surge will be from 2.5 to 3 m (8 to 10 feet) which would lead to inundation in the low lying areas. Lightning strikes are to be watched out for, which may be damaging. Coastal areas of West Bengal inclusive of Digha, Howrah, Hooghly, 24 Parganas, Medinipur are witnessing winds in excess of 100 km/h (62 mph) while Kolkata winds were in excess of 70 – 80 km/h (40 – 50 mph). Moving northeastwards further, it would head for the northeastern states of India as a depression. However, this would be not before Sunday morning."

Featured image credit: NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP / VIIRS

If you value what we do here, create your ad-free account and support our journalism.


Your support makes a difference

Dear valued reader,

We hope that our website has been a valuable resource for you.

The reality is that it takes a lot of time, effort, and resources to maintain and grow this website. We rely on the support of readers like you to keep providing high-quality content.

If you have found our website to be helpful, please consider making a contribution to help us continue to bring you the information you need. Your support means the world to us and helps us to keep doing what we love.

Support us by choosing your support level – Silver, Gold or Platinum. Other support options include Patreon pledges and sending us a one-off payment using PayPal.

Thank you for your consideration. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Teo Blašković

$5 /month

  • Ad-free account
  • Clean user interface and fast browsing
  • Direct communication with us via chat and email
  • Suggest new features, content and applications
  • Early access to new apps and features

$50 /year

$10 /month

  • Ad-free account
  • Clean user interface and fast browsing
  • Direct communication with us via chat and email
  • Suggest new features, content and applications
  • Early access to new apps and features

$100 /year

$25 /month

  • Ad-free account
  • Clean user interface and fast browsing
  • Direct communication with us via chat and email
  • Suggest new features, content and applications
  • Early access to new apps and features

$200 /year

You can also support us on Patreon

support us on patreon

or by sending us a one-off payment using PayPal:

Commenting rules and guidelines

We value the thoughts and opinions of our readers and welcome healthy discussions on our website. In order to maintain a respectful and positive community, we ask that all commenters follow these rules:

  • Treat others with kindness and respect.
  • Stay on topic and contribute to the conversation in a meaningful way.
  • Do not use abusive or hateful language.
  • Do not spam or promote unrelated products or services.
  • Do not post any personal information or content that is illegal, obscene, or otherwise inappropriate.

We reserve the right to remove any comments that violate these rules. By commenting on our website, you agree to abide by these guidelines. Thank you for helping to create a positive and welcoming environment for all.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *