Odisha on Thursday stepped up its preparedness to brace for Cyclone Hudhud, while the latest weather forecast suggested the cyclonic storm would touch Andhra Pradesh coast around Vishakhapatnam on Sunday.
Met department officials said Cyclone Hudhud over east-central Bay of Bengal moved west-northwestward and lay centred at 5.30 am about 770 km south-southeast of Gopalpur in Odisha’s Ganjam district.
“The system would continue to move west-northwestwards, intensifying further into a severe cyclonic storm during next 12 hours and into a very severe cyclonic storm during subsequent 24 hours. The system would cross north Andhra Pradesh coast around Vishakhapatnam by the forenoon of October 12,” a met department spokesperson said.
Though the cyclone is veering more towards Andhra Pradesh, state government officials said there were not taking any chance, especially in southern Odisha districts neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, because till now the position of the storm is not clear.
Chief minister Naveen Patnaik held a high level meeting for the second day to review the preparedness.
The focus is more on four coastal districts of Ganjam, Gajapati, Khurda and Puri.
A total of 10 teams of Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force and eight teams of National Disaster Response Force have been deployed in areas that were affected by Cyclone Phailin last year. More than 100 power boats and 350 cyclone shelters have been kept ready.
Watch: Cyclone Hudhud likely to make landfall in Andhra Pradesh on October 12
“We have reviewed the preparedness of NDRF, ODRAF and fire services which are fully prepared to meet any eventuality,” Odisha director general of police Sanjiv Marik said.
The district administration of Ganjam has asked all employees to be present for rehabilitation and relief works. “Our evacuation plan is ready and every department has made contingency plans to meet the eventuality. We will be on the move till the cyclone makes a landfall,” Ganjam collector Premchand Choudhury said.
Ganjam was worst hit by Cyclone Phailin on October 12 last year. With a wind speed of more than 200 km, the cyclonic storm had uprooted lakhs of trees, flattened kutcha houses, toppled electric poles and mobile towers, damaged crop land and destroyed powernetwork.