The severe cyclonic Phethai is expected to landfall at the Andhra Pradesh coast around Kakinada on Monday afternoon, the Met department said. Due to unfavourable environmental conditions, it is likely to weaken slightly before landfall and cross coast as a cyclonic storm with wind speed of 70-90 kmph gusting to 100 kmph, the IMD said.
At 5:30 am today, Cyclone Phethai lay 320 km east-northeast of Chennai, 160 km southeast of Machilipatnam and 190 km south of Kakinada.
A high alert has been sounded in the coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh with Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu directing all departments to work in close coordination to mitigate damages, PTI reported. Naidu has particularly directed the collectors of the coastal districts to ensure there was no loss of life due to the cyclone.
Under the impact of Phethai, heavy to very heavy rainfall is expected at a few places in coastal Andhra Pradesh and extremely heavy rainfall (of over 20 cm) at isolated places in Guntur, Krishna, West Godavari, East Godavari, Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts and Puducherry’s Yanam district, the the state disaster management agency said.
The cyclone is likely to inundate the low lying areas of Coastal Andhra Pradesh (East & west Godavari, Vishakhapatnam, Krishna and Guntur districts) and Yanam district of Puducherry at the time of landfall. Storm surge, the rise in seawater during a storm, is expected to be between 0.5 m to 1.0 m above the astronomical tides, IMD said.
Wind warnings have been issued for Andhra Pradesh, north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and south Odisha coasts.
Squally wind speed reaching 50-60 kmph gusting to 70 kmph prevails along and off south Andhra Pradesh, north Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts. This is very likely to increase gradually becoming gale wind speed of 80-90 kmph gusting to 100 kmph along and off central Andhra Pradesh coast. Strong wind speed reaching 30-40 kmph gusting to 50 kmph likely along & off South Odisha coast on 17th.
Andhra On High Alert
In East Godavari district, which is most vulnerable to the impact of ‘Phethai’, officials made arrangements to evacuate residents from 72 habitations to safety depending on the gravity of the situation.
Deputy Chief Minister (Home) N China Rajappa on Sunday reviewed the situation with the district Collector Kartikeya Misra and other officials in Kakinada and asked them to be ready with men and material to meet any eventuality.
“About 14 mandals along the coast are likely to face the impact of the severe cyclone and accordingly we have made arrangements for food and other essential supplies. NDRF and SDRF personnel have already been positioned in these places for rescue and relief operations”, Rajappa said.
The district collector said six fishermen stranded in the sea off Kakinada were rescued Sunday.
Navy On Standby
Visakhapatnam-headquartered Eastern Naval Command (ENC) of the Indian Navy has assumed a “high degree of readiness” to render necessary humanitarian assistance.
“Indian Naval ships are standing by to render Humanitarian Assistance and Distress Relief (HADR), evacuation, logistic support, including providing medical aid. Additional medical teams, divers, inflatable rubber boats and relief material that include food, tentage, clothes, medicines, blankets etc., in sufficient quantities have been kept ready,” the ENC said in a statement.
Diving teams of the Navy with inflatable Gemini boats and associated diving equipment have been kept on standby for immediate deployment for relief and rescue operations.
“The ENC is monitoring the developments closely and is in constant communication with the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) to augment the rescue and relief operations.
“Aircraft are standing by at the Naval Air Stations INS Dega and INS Rajali to undertake reconnaissance, rescue, casualty evacuation and air drop of relief material to the stranded as required,” the Navy release said.
Naval aircraft have flown 11 sorties along the east coast over the last two days to broadcast warnings to the fishermen at sea of the impending cyclone and advise them to return to the nearest harbour. Additionally, naval ships at sea have also been warning the fishermen to return to harbour, it said.
Railway Helpline Numbers
Railway helplines have been set up in the divisional headquarters at Vijayawada and Guntur to closely monitor the situation and take necessary action, he added. The numbers are 9121271340, 9121271447, 0866-2576924.
South Central Railway General Manager Vinod Kumar Yadav said in a release that patrolling of railway tracks was being carried out extensively to ensure safe movement of trains in view of the cyclone.
He directed the divisional railway managers to formalise all requirements to handle any emergency and regulate train services in case of need.
Railway station masters in the coastal districts would also provide food and other facilities if the requirement arose, Yadav said.