An alert was sounded along the Andhra coast as a cyclonic storm formation in the Bay of Bengal is likely to intensify and hit the coast between north Tamil Nadu and south coastal Andhra on Dec 30, the weather office said on Tuesday.
Andhra Pradesh government put the administration in the coastal districts, especially in the south coastal region, on alert as the cyclonic formation named 'Thane' is likely to turn into a severe cyclonic storm and cause extensive damage while crossing the coast between Cuddalore and Nellore by the morning of Dec 30.
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the cyclonic storm over southeast Bay of Bengal lay centred about 750 km east-southeast of Chennai.
The system is likely to move west-northwestwards, intensify into a severe cyclonic storm by Wednesday and cross north Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh coast between Cuddalore and Nellore by the morning of Dec 30.
Dozens of fishermen in Guntur district who had ventured into the sea were reported missing as their families have lost contact with them. The officials began frantic efforts to trace the fishermen who had gone into the sea in 32 boats.
Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, who reviewed the cyclone situation at a meeting with top officials here, directed the collectors of Guntur, Prakasam and Nellore districts to be on alert and evacuate people wherever necessary.
Revenue Minister Raghuveera Reddy told reporters that all steps were being taken to minimize the loss of lives and property due to the cyclone.
According to an IMD bulletin, the cyclonic storm may cause extensive damage to thatched roofs and huts, minor damage to power and communication lines due to uprooting of large trees and also flooding of escape routes.
The weather office has suggested total suspension of fishing operations and evacuation of coastal hutment dwellers. It advised people in affected areas to remain indoors.
Warning signal two has been hoisted at all ports on the Andhra coast and fishermen have been advised against venturing into the sea, said officials at the Visakhapatnam Cyclone Warning Centre.
Under the impact of the cyclonic storm, high tidal waves damaged over 200 boats along the coast in the Visakhapatnam and West Godavari districts on Monday night. Officials said the waves washed away 50 boats.
The incursion of sea water on land was as much as 15 metres in some coastal villages. Sea conditions have turned rough along the Andhra coast and are likely to remain so over the next two to three days.
Under the influence of cyclonic storm formation, rainfall at most places with isolated heavy rainfall is likely to commence over north coastal Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and south coastal Andhra Pradesh from the night of Dec 28.
Squally winds at speed reaching 45-55 kmph were likely to commence along and off north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and south Andhra Pradesh coasts.
The weather office has advised fishermen along Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and south Andhra Pradesh coast who are out at sea to return.