Heavy rains battered the coastal Andhra districts of Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam on Friday as the cyclone Roanu intensified into a severe cyclonic storm.
Officials of the Cyclone Warning Centre at Visakhapatnam said the storm lay centred around 60 km southeast of the port city and would move north-eastwards.
“It is likely to cross south Bangladesh coast between Khepupara and Cox’s Bazar by midnight of Saturday,” they said.
The centre said heavy to very heavy rainfall measuring more than 21 cms will be witnessed in north coastal Andhra Pradesh in the next 24 hours. Gale wind speed reaching 90-100 kmph is also expected in the next 12 hours.
Cyclone moves 60 km south east of Vizag (Andhra Pradesh),moves in the north-east direction.Heavy rainfall expected pic.twitter.com/Iul5FPLHB4— ANI (@ANI_news) May 20, 2016
Several towns in Srikakulam district received heavy rainfall ranging from 4 cm to 15 cm, throwing normal life out of gear.
In Visakhapatnam, very heavy rainfall in the last 24 hour inundated several low-lying areas. Strong winds uprooted trees and snapped electricity and communication lines while high tide waves lashed the coastal line.
There were reports of landslides in some parts of Visakhapatnam, disrupting traffic movements. The Kothavalasa-Kirandul (K-K) railway line was also blocked because of a landslide, cancelling the Kirandul-Visakhapatnam passenger train on Friday. Boulders, apparently dislodged by the rain, blocked the rail tracks between Chimidipalle and Borra Caves.
Meanwhile, more than 1,000 passengers, who were to sail to Port Blair on Wednesday, have been stranded at Visakhapatnam Port. The passenger vessel MV Harshavardhana, being operated by the Shipping Corporation of India between Visakhapatnam and Port Blair, has been docked at the port due to turbulent seas conditions. Authorities made arrangements for food and water for the passengers, most of who are labourers from north coastal Andhra and Odisha.
Chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu directed officials to evacuate people from vulnerable areas and set up relief camps wherever necessary.
Five National Disaster Response Force teams comprising 500 personnel with life-saving equipment have already been deployed. Teams of the State Disaster Response Force were also on standby, an official statement claimed.
A state-level control room was opened in Hyderabad and with smaller units in all district headquarters.