Bangladesh on Friday issued a cyclone alert for the southern coast, suspending ferry movements in riverine routes and asking fishermen to remain ashore as a tropical cyclone was expected to hit the neighbouring Myanmar later this evening.
Meteorologists said the severe cyclonic storm codenamed "Nargis" over the Bay of Bengal continued packing in intensity.
They said Nargis was expected to strike the Irawaddy Delta Coast of Myanmar by the evening but warned that storm surges of 3 to 5 feet above "normal astronomical tide" would inundate Bangladesh's coastal districts and their offshore inlands.
"It (Nargis) is likely to intensify further and move in an easterly direction," said the latest Met office bulletin issued earlier today asking the southeastern Chittagong and Cox's Bazar ports to keep hoisting warning signals.
"We expect to escape the main brunt of the cyclone but the southern tip of Bangladesh could be affected under its influence," a Met office spokesman told PTI.
The cyclone brewed in the bay as Bangladesh was still trying to get rid of the shocks of the November 15, 2007 cyclone codenamed "Sidr", said to be the worst in the century in terms of intensity.
The Sidr had claimed 3,347 lives according to official count and affected more than 20 lakh families in 30 districts, 12 of which were affected badly.
The interim government in emergency-ruled Bangladesh has ordered the administration to take all preparations to face any emergency situation and asked the Red Crescent Society and other voluntary organisations to extend hands to protect life and property.