As the deep depression over the Bay started to intensify into a cyclonic storm, local administrations in 19 coastal districts moved to prepare shelters and alert locals on Sunday.
Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) advised maritime ports of Chattogram, Cox's Bazar, Mongla and Payra to hoist local cautionary signal no 4 as deep depression over the east-central bay and adjoining area moved north-northwestwards and intensified into cyclonic storm "Sitrang".
The bulletin, released by the met office around 8pm yesterday, added that the cyclone is likely to intensify further and move in a northerly direction.
"The sea will remain very rough near the cyclone centre and under the peripheral effect of the cyclone, north bay and adjoining coastal areas of Bangladesh are likely to face gusty wind of 40-50 kph in addition to heavy (44-88 mm) to very heavy rainfall (89 mm)," it added.
All fishing boats and trawlers over the north bay and deep sea have been advised to remain in shelter till further notice.
Earlier on Sunday the State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Dr Md Enamur Rahman told reporters that the government has taken all necessary measures to ensure the safety of the people and properly manage this natural calamity.
Mongla Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO), Kamlesh Majumder said, "A total of 103 cyclone shelters have been prepared and various Government and NGO organisations including Cyclone Preparedness Program (CPP) volunteers have been asked to remain alert."
Meanwhile, Sundarban East Division Forest Officer Mohammad Belayet Hossain said various stations and patrol outposts have been instructed to remain on maximum alert by the Forest Department.
In Bhola, 746 shelters have been prepared and another 1,306 educational institutions in the district have been informed to be prepared to operate as shelters ahead of the cyclone, said Deputy Commissioner Towfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury.
Eight control rooms have been opened in seven upazilas of the district and 13,660 CPP volunteers are on standby.
A medical team has been formed for each of the 70 unions and seven upazilas of the district and preparations have been made to bring the residents of isolated char areas to safe shelter, he added
According to Suman Chandra Debnath, Water Relief and Rehabilitation officer of Patuakhali, residents of 50 char areas in eight upazilas of Patuakhali have been alerted to go to safe shelter over loudspeaker.
He said 703 cyclone shelters and 26 Mujib Forts have been prepared in the district.
If necessary, educational institutions, public and private multi-storied buildings will also be used as shelter centres. Safe shelter has also been arranged for domestic animals, he added.
Bagerhat Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Azizur Rahman said that 344 shelters have been prepared in nine upazilas of the district.
"In the shelter centres, an estimated 208,430 people will be able to take refuge during the disaster. People will be taken to shelters upon receiving further instructions from the Met Office and authorities," he added.
Under the influence of deep depression, new moon phase and steep pressure gradient, the low-lying areas of coastal Satkhira, Khulna, Bagerhat, Jhalakathi, Pirojpur, Barguna, Patuakhali, Bhola, Barishal, Laxmipur, Chandpur, Noakhali, Feni, Chattogram, Cox's Bazar districts and their offshore islands and char area likely to be inundated by the wind-driven surge height of 3-5 feet above the astronomical tide, said the met office in a special bulletin.
The tidal surge height may even increase afterwards, it added.
Cox's Bazar district administration has made advance preparations to deal with the calamity. 576 cyclone shelters along with 9,000 volunteers have been kept ready in the district.
Tourist police, lifeguards and beach workers are warning tourists to keep a safe distance from the beaches in the district.
Additional District Magistrate Mohammad Abu Sufian said that there are instructions for the safe movement of tourists due to the calamity situation.
Mostafa Kamal Palash, a climate researcher at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, told The Business Standard that analysis of images obtained from Japan's artificial geo-satellite suggests heavy rains due to the cyclone may cause extensive damage in the coastal region.
"People on the coastal areas need to be urgently evacuated to safe shelters," he said.