In Odisha, the cyclonic storm Roanu gained momentum on Friday, moving northeastwards at a speed of 20 km per hour and lay centred close to the Gopalpur coast, the India Metrological Department (IMD) officials said.
“The system is likely to move northeastwards along and off north Andhra Pradesh and Odisha coast and intensify into a severe cyclonic storm during the next 24 hours. Thereafter the system is likely to move east-northeastwards and cross south Bangladesh coast between Khepupara and Cox Bazar, close to Chittagong in the evening of Saturday as a cyclonic storm,” IMD’s Bhubaneswar centre director SC Sahu said.
Met officials said heavy to very heavy rainfall is likely to occur over coastal as well as interior Odisha in this Saturday due to depression caused by the storm. There will be gusty cyclonic winds reaching speeds of 90 to 100 km per hour on the south Odisha coast.
Fishermen have been advised not to venture into the sea.
The IMD further warned of damage to thatched huts, power and communication lines due to branches snapping in the wind over coastal areas.
State chief minister Naveen Patnaik held an emergency review meeting at the secretariat on Thursday following the cyclone alert and asked the administration of 12 coastal districts to be prepared for any eventuality.
Patnaik directed that no leaves be granted to government officials working in the districts and that they be fully alert. He also reviewed districts’ preparedness through video conferencing with all district collectors.
The fire brigade and 10 teams of Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) are on standby for rescue and relief operation.
Odisha, which has always been vulnerable to cyclones, has been quick in going into hyper state of preparedness over the years. The state suffered severe tragedy when the ‘super cyclone’ of 1999 claimed around 10,000 lives. The recent cyclones Phailin and Hudhud in 2013-2014 also caused major devastation, but saw relatively low death toll.