3M Flee Bangladesh Cyclone

Sidr, packing 149-mph winds, tidal surge, batters southwest coast
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 15, 2007 11:43 AM CST
Residents look on as it rains in Barisal, 120 kilometers (75 miles) south of Bangladesh's capital Dhaka, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2007. More than 600,000 coastal villagers took shelter inland Thursday as a...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Hordes of Bangladeshis had evacuated ahead of a massive cyclone that pummeled the country's southwestern coast today, and a government official says he expects 3.2 million will evacuate by late today. Cyclone Sidr has 149-mph winds that could cause storm surges as high as 20 feet and swamp several districts. "We have taken all precautions," the official says.

No casualties are reported yet, according to the AP; rescue teams are ready, although communications to some areas have already been cut off. The coastal area expected to be hit is home to the Sundarbans mangrove forests and a number of endangered Bengal tigers. All operations at the country's two main seaports have been shut down, the AP reports.