Prime News, Nation, (Bhubaneswar), May 3:-Extremely severe cyclonic storm ‘Fani’ made a landfall in Puri on Odisha coast on Friday morning, triggering heavy rainfall coupled with high velocity winds with speed of 175 kmph in vast areas.
Large areas in the seaside pilgrim town of Puri and other places were submerged with water as heavy rains battered the entire coastal belt of the state.
Several trees were uprooted and thatched structures destroyed at some places including Bhubaneswar.
“The cyclone has entered the Odisha coast at Puri around 8 am and it will take around three hours for the entire landfall process to be completed,” Director of Regional Meteorological Centre, Bhubaneswar, H R Biswas said.
The cyclonic system, whose eye is around 28 km, is moving at around 30 kmph, Biswas said, adding the process of landfall is expected to be complete around 11 AM.
Puri and neighbouring areas are experiencing wind with a speed of 175 kilometres per hour which may go up to 200 kmph.
Under the impact of the cyclone, high velocity wind is sweeping across several coastal districts like Ganjam, Puri, Khurda and Gajapati, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) B P Sethi said.
Nearly 11 lakh people have been evacuated from vulnerable and low-lying areas of at least 11 coastal districts, he said, adding the evacuees have been accommodated in over 4,000 shelters, including 880 specially designed cyclone centres.
No casualty has so far been reported from any part of the state, Sethi said adding the government is fully prepared to deal with any eventuality.
After the landfall, the system is passing through Khurda, Cuttack, Jajpur, Bhadrak and Balasore before entering West Bengal, Sethi said, adding the state capital of Bhubaneswar is likely to be hit by high velocity wind of around 140 kmph.
A cyclone making a landfall implies that the first arm of the cyclone has reached the land.
The landfall began on Friday morning at 8 am with strong winds and rain hitting Puri district. Helpline number – 1938 – has been made operational by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
Indian Coast Guard has positioned 34 disaster relief teams at Visakhapatnam, Chennai, Paradip, Gopalpur, Haldia, Frazergunj and Kolkata besides four ships at Visakhapatnam and Chennai.
The system is likely to continue to move north-northeastwards, weaken gradually and emerge into Gangetic West Bengal as a “severe cyclonic storm” by the early morning of May 4.
Thereafter, it is expected to move further north-northeastwards and emerge into Bangladesh on May 4 evening as a cyclonic storm.
The IMD has warned of a storm surge of about 1.5 metres which may inundate low-lying coastal areas of Ganjam, Khurda, Puri, and Jagatsinghpur districts. The government said that 10,000 villages and 52 towns in nine districts of Odisha are likely to be affected.
In Andhra Pradesh, relief operation by National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is underway in Kotturu Mandal of Srikakulam which was hit by rain and strong winds in the wake of the cyclone.
The Odisha administration has evacuated over 11 lakh people from the vulnerable districts since Thursday. More than 3 lakh people have been evacuated from Ganjam district alone, followed by 1.3 lakh from Puri district. About 5000 kitchens are operating to serve people in shelters.
-(NAV, Inputs: Agencies)