Cyclone Helen hits AP coast; 2 dead, crops damaged

Cyclonic storm Helen hit Andhra Pradesh coast near Machilipatnam on Friday, triggering heavy rains and strong gales, which killed at least seven people and caused massive damage to the crops in the coastal region.

By Ritesh K Srivastava | Updated: Nov 23, 2013, 00:50 AM IST

Zee Media Bureau/Ritesh K Srivastava

Hyderabad: Two persons were killed and crops in 1.5 lakh hectares were damaged in Andhra Pradesh on Friday under the impact of cyclonic storm Helen, which has now weakened into a "deep depression".

The two persons died in separate rain-related incidents, disaster management commissioner C Parthasarathi said.

Coastal districts of East Godavari, West Godavari and Krishna bore the brunt of the heavy rains and gale winds.

National Disaster Management Authority Vice-Chairman M Sasidhar Reddy, who reviewed the situation tonight, said the damage was mainly in Machilipatnam division in Krishna district, Amalapuram division in East Godavari district and Naraspuram division in West Godavari.

Crops in about one lakh hectares, ready for harvest, was damaged in West Godavari district. Standing paddy and horticulture crops like banana and coconut were damaged in East Godavari district, he said.

Trees and electric poles fell in several areas.

The highest rainfall of 7.3 cms was reported at Allavaram in East Godavari.

The IMD bulletin at 7:00 pm today evening said,"The cyclonic storm ‘Helen’ over coastal Andhra Pradesh moved west-south-westward, weakened into a deep depression and lay centred at 1730 hrs IST of today, Nov 22, 2013 over coastal Andhra Pradesh near latitude 15.9 degrees N and longitude 80.7 degrees E, around 60km southwest of Machillipatnam. It would move west-southwestwards and weaken into a depression during next six hours."

In a warning to Andhra Pradesh it said, "Rainfall at most places with isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall would occur over north coastal Andhra Pradesh and adjoining Guntur, Krishna, West Godavari districts of south coastal Andhra Pradesh during next 24 hrs. Rainfall at many places with isolated heavy falls over would occur over Telangana during next 24 hrs. Moderate rainfall would occur at many places over south Odisha during next 12 hrs."

Earlier, the Indian Meteorological Department`s (IMD) bulletin at 16.30 pm had said, " The severe cyclonic storm ‘Helen’ over westcentral Bay of Bengal moved slightly westwards, crossed Andhra Pradesh coast close to south of Machillipatnam (near latitude 16.1°N and longitude 81.2°E between 1330 and 1430 hrs IST of November 22, 2013 as a cyclonic storm with a wind speed of 80-90 kmph."

"It moved westward and lay centred at 1430 hrs IST of Nov 22, 2013 over coastal Andhra Pradesh near latitude 16.1 degrees N and
longitude 81.0 degrees E, close to southwest of Machillipatnam. It would move west-southwestwards and weaken into a deep depression during next six hours," the IMD bulletin said.

Lakhs of people in south coastal Andhra Pradesh have been evacuated to safer place in order to minimise expected loss of lives and property.
State`s Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, who reviewed the relief and rescue measures this morning, directed the Chief Secretary to closely monitor the situation in coordination with collectors of all coastal districts.

A control room to monitor the situation has been set up at the state secretariat in Hyderabad. The control room numbers are 040-23456005, 23451043.
On October 12, Cyclone Phailin, a very severe cyclonic storm struck the Odisha and north-east Andhra coast, bringing in its wake torrential rains and wind speeds of over 200 kmph.

Andhra Pradesh has a nearly 1,000-kilometre-long coastline and the nine districts there face cyclone threats every year.

With PTI inputs