NEW DELHI— Extremely severe cyclonic storm ‘Fani’, which is approaching India’s eastern coast, is likely to hit Gopalpur and Chandbali, south of Puri in Odisha on Friday, the National Disaster Management Authority said Wednesday.
According to the latest forecast by the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre (JWTC), Fani is the most severe cyclonic storm since the super cyclone of 1999 that claimed close to 10,000 lives and devastated large parts of Odisha.
The cyclone is likely to affect 19 districts of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal, besides Kolkata.
Heavy rains is also very likely at isolated places over Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Meghalaya.
A red alert has been sounded in Srikakulam district of north coastal Andhra Pradesh as heavy rains with winds gusting up to 120 kmph are likely.
“Extremely severe” cyclonic storm ‘Fani’ is likely to hit Odisha coast between Gopalpur and Chandbali, south of Puri on 3 May with wind speed of 175-185 km per hour gusting up to 205 kmph,” the NDMA said quoting a bulletin of the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
Gusty wind with speed 40-50 km per hour is expected at isolated places over coastal Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Jammu and Kashmir, sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim.
Gusty wind with speed 30-40 km per hour is also likely at isolated places over Odisha and gangetic West Bengal, the NDMA said.
Heavy rainfall has also been predicted in Andhra’s Vizianagaram district and scattered rainfall in Visakhapatnam and East Godavari districts along the Bay of Bengal on 2 and 3 May.
As many as 11 mandals along the Bay of Bengal coast in Srikakulam are expected to bear the brunt of Fani.
In Vizianagaram district, seven mandals might be affected.
Navy, NDRF deployed
Navy and Coast Guard ships and helicopters, relief teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed in strategic locations, while Army and Air Force units have been put on standby as the cyclonic storm is approaching the coast, officials said.
Educational institutions ordered shut and over 8 lakh people in coastal districts are being evacuated.
The NDRF is deploying 41 teams in Andhra Pradesh (8), Odisha (28) and West Bengal (5) for prepositioning. In addition, it is keeping on standby 13 teams in West Bengal and 10 in Andhra Pradesh, an official said.
An NDRF team comprises about 45 personnel.
The Home Ministry, in a statement on Tuesday, said based on the decision of the first meeting of the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), headed by Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha, the central government has already released advance financial assistance of Rs 1,086 crore to Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal to assist them in undertaking preventive and relief measures.
The states have issued advisories and are ensuring that fishermen do not venture into the sea.
81 trains cancelled
Railways has cancelled 81 trains and diverted two more in view of cyclone “Fani”. The railways said that it will grant full refund to passengers for the cancelled or diverted trains if the tickets are produced for cancellation within three days from scheduled date of journey.
Some of the trains which have been cancelled include Howrah-Chennai Central Coromandal Express, Patna-Eranakulam Express, New Delhi-Bhubaneswar Rajdhani Express, Howrah-Hyderabad East Coast Express, Bhubaneswar-Rameswaram Express.
(With PTI inputs)