Zee Media Bureau/Ajith Vijay Kumar
New Delhi: Cyclone Phailin over the Bay of Bengal slightly intensified further and moved north-westwards. It lay centred at 2030 hours at about 650 km southeast of Paradip, 700 km south-east of Gopalpur, and 700 km east-southeast of Kalingapatnam. It is expected to cross north Andhra Pradesh and Odisha coast between Kalingapatnam and Paradip, close to Gopalpur (Odisha) by Saturday evening.
As per the latest update from the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), Thursday, the cyclone over east central Bay of Bengal will gain intensity and turn into a very severe cyclonic storm with a maximum sustained wind speed of 190-200 kmph at landfall.
At 8.30 pm IST, Thursday, cyclone Phailin lay 650 km southeast of Paradip, 700 km south-east of Gopalpur, and 700 km east-southeast of Kalingapatnam. IMD predicted that it will intensify in the next 12 hours into a severe cyclonic storm and would continue to move northwest wards towards the north Andhra and Odisha cost.
At landfall, the Phailin would surge with height of around 1.5-2.0 metres and would inundate low lying areas of Ganjam, Khurda, Puri and Jagatsinghpur districts of Odisha and Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh, the IMD said.
Before it was it was categorised as cyclonic storm Phailin, the deep depression with a wind speed is 78km per hour had hit the Andaman Islands near uninhabited Landfall Island at around 5pm yesterday, causing very heavy rainfall.
High alert in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha
Very heavy rainfall has been predicted for Odisha and parts of Andhra Pradesh.
Fishermen in Andamans have been warned against venturing into the sea while those in Odisha and north Andhra Pradesh have been asked to immediately return to the coast.
In Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh government put all its departments on high alert even as Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy appealed to striking government employees in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions to return to work to meet any emergency.
The Odisha government has also activated its disaster management system and Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force has been deployed.
Authorities were asked to stock up on food and relief materials at cyclone shelters and all district collectors have been provided satellite phones so that they could remain in touch with the government.
Puja holidays of government employees in 14 districts — Puri, Khurda, Nayagarh, Ganjam, Balasore, Bhadrak, Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Dhenkanal, Jajpur, Cuttack, Kendrapada, Jagatsinghpur and Gajapati — have been cancelled.
The state government has also set up round-the-clock control rooms in the district headquarters towns, including in the highly cyclone-prone Puri, Kendrapada, Jagatsinghpur, Bhadrak, Balasore and Ganjam.
The effort is being coordinated from a control room set up in Bhubaneswar.
Odisha knows the importance of advance preparation - a super cyclone had struck the state in 1999, killing around 10,000 people.