The severe cyclonic storm, codenamed SIDR, over the Bay of Bengal turned into a hurricane yesterday, prompting the meteorological department to raise its cautionary signal from number two to number four in the coastal belt.
The government yesterday held an emergency preparedness meeting which asked coastal-zone district administration to stay alert and also requested people in the vulnerable areas to take shelter at cyclone shelters.
According to the latest Met office bulletin, the hurricane was centred 1115 kilometres south-southwest of Chittagong, 1030km south-southwest of Cox's Bazar and 1090km south of Mongla seaport.
Most of the time the hurricane remained largely static, occasionally slightly moving in the north and north-west direction.
The Met office said the sea was very rough and advised all fishing boats and other sea vessels to anchor off the shore until further notice.
"The hurricane is likely to intensify further and move in the north and northwest direction. If it is so, then the hurricane should reach Orissa coast by tomorrow (Thursday)," said Samarendra Karmakar, director at the Met office.
The bulletin said the maximum wind speed of the hurricane was 74km per hour with 165km at the centre that was occasionally rising up to185km.
Meanwhile, the food and disaster management ministry yesterday held a meeting to discuss their hurricane preparedness.
The meeting, presided over by Dr Mohammad Ayub Mia -- the ministry's secretary, alerted all the district administrations at coastal zone about the hurricane and asked the vulnerable-area people to take shelter at cyclone centres.
A control room has been opened at the ministry which will remain open round the clock to collect and disseminate information about the cyclone.
The control-room telephone numbers are 02-716054, 7164115 and 7162116.
On November 12, 1970, the worst-ever cyclone in the country killed thousands of people.