Cyclonic storm Sitrang started crossing the area between Barishal and Khulna coasts of the country on Monday evening with a gusty wind speed of up to 90 kilometre per hour.
Meteorologists say the storm will cross Barishal-Chattogram coast near Bhola by Monday midnight.
The eye of the cyclone was situated 170 to 240 kilometres southwest of the ports at 6:00pm, the Met Office said.
With a diameter of 400-500km, the storm already affected the coastal region. The central regions and other parts of the country were experiencing incessant rains.
The Met Office said the entire storm system will be over the land by early Tuesday.
A woman died falling under a large tree branch blown off by the gusty winds in Narail, while road communications and power supply were cut off due to the storm.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has directed the authorities concerned to take measures to protect lives and properties from the cyclone.
The districts that will be affected are Barguna, Patuakhali, Bhola, Pirojpur, Jhalakathi, Satkhira, Khulna, Bagerhat, Barishal, Lakshmipur, Chandpur, Noakhali and Feni. Chattogram and the islands in Cox’s Bazar area such as Moheshkhali, Hatia and Sandwip were facing a risk.
As many as 7,030 shelter centres have been prepared and 2.5 million people can take refuge there.
Meanwhile, nearly 2 lakh people of the coastal areas have been evacuated to safe shelters.
Army and navy personnel and coast guards joined disaster management and relief efforts, the state minister said.
Each district has been given an allocation of Tk 500,000 and dry food due to the storm.
Mongla and Payra seaports have been asked to hoist danger signal 7 while Chattogram seaport will follow danger signal 6.
Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh closed airports in Cox’s Bazar, Chattogram and Barishal from 3:00pm on Monday to Tuesday noon due to the inclement weather.
The BIWTA halted all river vehicles, including launches, in a nationwide response to ‘Sitrang’.
River ports in coastal districts have been ordered to hoist marine danger signal 3, while other river ports are raising danger signal 2, said BIWTA Director Md Rafiqul Islam.
An empty barge floats off the eastern coast of St Martin’s Chera Dwip on Monday amid the inclement weather caused by the cyclone.
The transport and release of goods from domestic and foreign commercial ships at Monga Port have also been suspended.
All ships at the Chattogram port have been moved away from the jetties to outer anchorage as ‘Sitrang’ approaches the coast.
The National University has postponed all exams of Tuesday due to the cyclone.
Everyone involved in the tests will be informed of a revised schedule for the postponed exams soon, the university said in a notice. The dates and times of all other exams previously announced will remain unchanged.
The district administrations in Pirojpur and Patuakhali have prepared scores of cyclone shelters to protect residents.
High winds and heavy rains triggered by the cyclone lashed Pirojpur on Monday morning, reportedly uprooting trees in several upazilas, including Indurkani, Bhandaria and Mathbaria. But, there have been no reports of casualties so far. As many as 260 centres across the district are ready to shelter over 150,000 people. Some 179 primary schools can also double up as storm shelters, if necessary.
Bangladesh Navy has deployed 17 ships, 2 Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) and 2 helicopters in Chittagong, Khulna and Mongla naval areas to take for emergency rescue, relief and medical assistance.
Meanwhile, Patuakhali recorded 196.5mm of rainfall, the highest in the country on Monday as it braces for the cyclone.
The district administration has readied 703 centres alongside 26 small-scale shelters, known as Mujib Killas, to provide refuge to residents.
The coastal districts of Satkhira, Khulna, Bagerhat, Jhalakathi, Pirojpur, Barguna, Patuakhali, Bhola, Barishal, Lakshmipur, Chandpur, Noakhali, Feni and their offshore islands also came under danger signal 7.
Meanwhile, Chattogram and Cox's Bazar seaports have been advised to hoist danger signal 6.
Most parts of Bangladesh were experiencing heavy rains as the cyclone continues to intensify. Coastal areas experienced gusty winds up to 60 kph along with heavy-to-very heavy rainfall.
The coastal districts of Khulna, Satkhira, Bagerhat, Patuakhali, Barguna, Bhola, Pirojpur, Barishal, Jhalakathi, Noakhali, Lakshmipur, Feni, Chandpur, Chattogram, Cox’s Bazar, and the low-lying areas of remote islands were inundated by 5-8ft tides.
All fishing boats and trawlers operating in the North Bay of Bengal and deep sea have been asked to stay docked until further notice.
In another development, 13 trawlers sank in the Bay of Bengal off Saint Martin’s island in Teknaf upazila of Cox’s Bazar, as the sea is very rough due to the inclement weather triggered by the cyclone.
Mojibur Rahman, chairman of Saint Martin's union, said 13 trawlers sank in the bay around 11am and the whereabouts of seven trawlers could not be traced yet.
However, it is not clear how many people went missing due to the incident, although a number of people managed to swim ashore, said Mojibur.
Meanwhile, the local administration has started evacuation work to move 11,500 people from the coastal areas of the district as 576 cyclone centres were opened, said Mamun-Ur-Rashid, deputy commissioner in Cox’s Bazar.