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Cyclone Phailin with a windspeed of 220 kmph is turning into a super cyclone before making landfall on Saturday evening near Gopalpur in Odisha where the government has galvanised its machinery to deal with its impact and is evacuating people from low-lying areas.
"The US Navy has also forecast that the wind speed will be above 240 kmph. Therefore, the cyclone is not less than any super cyclone for us," Special Relief Commissioner Commissioner PK Mohapatra said.
He said that though the IMD on Thursday indicated that the wind speed would be limited to 185 kmph, it was now forecasting it at 220 kmph.
Mohapatra said the IMD had declared the 1999 calamity as a super cyclone as the wind speed had crossed 220 kmph.
"This time around, the wind speed is not much different than the previous super cyclone," he said.