Cyclone Sidr made landfall about 5 p.m. local time (6:30 a.m. ET), bringing Category 4-force winds of 149 mph to the vulnerable Bangladeshi coastline.
Hundreds of thousands of people had been evacuated, and there were not reports yet of a death.
By one analysis, the storm hit among the best spots it could, a relatively low-populated and heavily forested area. Hurricane expert Jeff Masters had this to say:
The coast in western Bangladesh has the Sundarbans Forest, the world's largest forest of mangrove trees. This region is the least populated coastal area in the country, and has been part of a major reforestation effort in recent years. The portion of coast likely to receive the highest storm surge levels of 20-25 feet is virtually unpopulated. However, storm surge levels of 10-20 feet are still likely to affect areas with a population of at least a million, to the east of the Sundarbans forest, and inland from the forest. The last major cyclone to hit western Bangladesh occurred in November 1988. This Category 3 cyclone with 125 mph winds had a 5-10 foot storm surge, and killed 2,000 people.
For more of his analysis, click here..
The storm will also affect parts of northeastern India, including Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), the third-largest city in India.
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