Fani now ‘extremely severe’, says Met; Odisha sounds red alert
Odisha sounded a red alert warning on Tuesday for 17 districts after the Met department said extremely severe cyclonic storm Fani is likely to cross Odisha coast between Gopalpur and Chandbali around Friday afternoon with maximum sustained wind of speed 175-185 kmph gusting to 205 kmph.
“It has intensified into an extremely severe cyclonic storm,” Additional Director General of the IMD Mritunjay Mohapatra told PTI.
Quoting a special bulletin of India Meteorological Department (IMD), Odisha government said storm surge of about 1.5 meter height above astronomical tide is very likely to inundate low lying areas of coastal Ganjam, Khurda, Puri and Jagatsinghpur districts at the time of landfall.
Watch | Cyclone Fani likely to hit Odisha on Friday; NDRF, rescue teams kept ready
Special Relief Commissioner Bishnupada Sethi said Cyclone Fani is likely to cause extensive damage houses and disrupt rail/road link at several places.
Odisha chief secretary Aditya Padhi, who held a video-conference meeting with Union cabinet secretary, sought two choppers for rescue and relief operations.
Also read: Indian Navy on high alert for cyclone Fani
Sethi said 20 units of Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force, 335 fire services units, 116 road clearance teams and 12 units of National Disaster Response Force have been kept ready. The Centre on Tuesday had ordered advance release of Rs. 340.875 crore for Odisha as a precautionary measure for carrying out relief operations.
IMD said cyclone Fani lay centred over Bay of Bengal about 800 km south of Puri at 11.30 am on Tuesday and moved northwestwards with a speed of about 22 kmph in last six hours. It is likely to intensify further into an extremely severe cyclonic storm during next 12 hours and move northwestwards till Wednesday evening. The system would then recurve north-northeastwards and cross Odisha coast between Gopalpur and Chandbali, to the south of Puri around Friday afternoon.
Under its impact, squally wind speed reaching 40-50 kmph gusting to 60 kmph is likely to start along and off Odisha coast from Thursday. On Friday evening, Fani would hit Odisha coast with a sustained windspeed of 175-185 kmph gusting 205 kmph over Odisha coast.
Officials said fishermen have been advised not to venture into deep sea areas of southwest & adjoining southeast Bay of Bengal till Saturday. With turbulence likely in sea, the state government asked the motor boat operators in Chilika to not to play any boats between May 1 and May 5 in the lake.
On Monday, chief minister Naveen Patnaik had asked his officials to ensure zero casualty. Cyclone Titli, the last storm to hit Odisha coast in October last year had killed 61 people, many of them in tribal-dominated Gajapati district.
Patnaik met the Election Commission on Tuesday requesting postponement of polls in Assembly seat in case the cyclone hit Odisha. Elections to Patkura assembly constituency, adjourned due to the death of BJD candidate Bed Prakash Agarwal, is due on May 19.