Bangladesh, Eastern India Brace for Powerful Cyclone

Bangladeshi authorities are evacuating tens of thousands of people from coastal villages to storm shelters and high land as a powerful cyclone approaches the region.

Forecasters say the storm could make landfall late Thursday.

Officials have shut down operations in the country's two major ports -- Chittagong and Mongla -- and have ordered ships to move to safer seas.

Indian forecasters are calling the storm very serious, saying they expect it to cross the coast of the Indian state of West Bengal by Friday morning.

Both India and Bangladesh are on official cyclone alerts.

Intense storms batter Bangladesh every year, killing hundreds of people.

In 1970, a cyclone killed around a half-million people. Twenty-one years later, an estimated 140-thousand people died as a result of a tidal wave sparked by a cyclone.