Cyclone Titli intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm over the Bay of Bengal on Wednesday and is moving towards the Odisha coast, triggering rainfall in several parts of the eastern state, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
The weather office said the cyclonic storm is likely to make a landfall between Gopalpur in Odisha and Kalingapatanam in Andhra Pradesh early on Thursday morning at a wind speed gusting up to 165 kilometres per hour.
“Titli moved with a speed of about 14 kmph and intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm and lay centred over the west-central Bay of Bengal, about 320 km south-southeast of Gopalpur in Odisha,” IMD said in a bulletin.
The Joint Typhoon Warning Centre of the US navy also said the cyclone continued to rapidly consolidate and indications of a nascent eye beginning to form.
According to IMD, Cyclone Titli intensified further into a very severe cyclonic storm during at 11.30 am on Wednesday and may lead to waves rising upto 1 metre on the coast. Under its impact, heavy rains have already started in Ganjam, Gajapati, Puri, Balasore and Kendrapara districts.
Director of the Meteorological Centre in Bhubaneswar HR Biswas said it is likely to re-curve northeastward, move towards Gangetic West Bengal across Odisha and weaken gradually, according to news agency PTI.
IMD has also predicted the cyclonic wind to chew away a large part of Andhra Pradesh districts like Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam and Odisha districts of Gajapati, Ganjam, Puri and Kendrapara.
IMD advised fishermen to suspend their operations and said coastal hutment dwellers must shift to safe places. Fishermen along the Odisha coast and central and north Bay of Bengal were advised not to venture into sea till Friday.
In view of the adverse weather conditions, it has advised hoisting of local warning signal LW-4 at all ports of Odisha.
The Odisha government was also cautioned about the possible flooding in view of the heavy rainfall across the state. It has already issued a high alert in all districts, particularly those in the coastal region, to face the ensuing situation and geared up to face the situation setting a target of “zero casualty”.
Chief minister Naveen Patnaik has called a meeting of senior officials in the afternoon to take stock of the preparedness in the face of the cyclone.
Special Relief Commissioner Bishnupada Sethi said collectors of 17 of the 30 districts of Odisha have been put on red alert, the highest state of emergency preparedness, over the possibility of heavy to very heavy rainfall under the impact of Cyclone Titli from Thursday.
These districts are Ganjam, Gajapati, Puri, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Balasore, Bhadrak, Dhenkanal, Kandhamal, Boudh, Cuttack, Jajpur, Khurda, Nayagarh, Kalahandi, Koraput and Rayagada.
To evacuate people on the coast as well as the districts in the path of the cyclone, 836 multi-purpose cyclone and flood shelters have been kept ready to accommodate maximum people.
Six teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and 11 of Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) have also been positioned at different places for rescue operations. The Navy and Air Force have been put on alert. More than 300 boats had been kept ready for the likely flood situation in different districts.
Chief secretary AP Padhi said all educational institutions in the four districts in the direct path of the cyclone will remain closed from Wednesday. “Based on the impact of the cyclone we will take a decision on closing educational institutes of other districts,” he said.
Sand art sculptor Sudarshan Patnaik mounted an art installation on Titli at Puri beach with the words “Do not panic! Have Courage”.
This is the second cyclonic storm formed over the Bay of Bengal and hitting the east coast this year. The first one, Daye, hit Odisha and northern Andhra Pradesh last month.
Source: Hindustan Times