Cyclone Gulab: Odisha, Andhra Pradesh brace for storm, put response forces in place
Cyclonic storm Gulab lay centered over the Bay of Bengal about 330km east-southeast of Odisha’s Gopalpur and 400km east of Kalingapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in this latest bulletin on Sunday. The storm is expected to move westwards and cross north Andhra Pradesh and south Odisha coasts between Kalingapatnam and Gopalpur around Sunday evening, the IMD added.
“The Cyclonic Storm ‘Gulab’ over northwest and adjoining westcentral Bay of Bengal moved nearly westwards with a speed of 07 kmph in last 6 hours, and lay centered at 2330 hrs IST of 25th September 2021, over northwest and adjoining westcentral Bay of Bengal near Lat. 18.3°N and Long. 87.9°E, about 330 km east-southeast of Gopalpur (Odisha) & 400 km east of Kalingapatnam (Andhra Pradesh),” the IMD said.
The IMD has issued an orange alert and forecast light to moderate rainfall at most places with “heavy to very heavy falls at a few places and extremely heavy falls at isolated places very likely” over south Odisha and north coastal Andhra Pradesh on Sunday. “Heavy to very heavy falls at isolated places is also likely over Telangana and heavy falls at isolated places over north interior Odisha & Chhattisgarh,” it also said.
IMD officials have issued warnings in parts of southern Odisha that are likely to be heavily affected by the cyclonic storm Gulab. The director of IMD Bhubaneswar, HR Biswas, said that the cyclonic storm is likely to affect the southern parts of Odisha and will pass between Gopalpur and Kalingapatnam. "Malkangiri, Nowrangpur, Koraput, Puri, Kalahandi and neighbouring districts will receive heavy to very heavy rainfall activity. Wind warnings have mainly been issued to Ganjam and Gajapati districts along the coast,” Biswas told ANI. "Total suspension of fisherman activity has been ordered up to September 27. The public is advised to keep arrangements for drainage of excess water and to keep a regular check on traffic congestion," he added.
The coastal state is bracing for Cyclone Gulab, named by Pakistan, just four months after Yaas’ wreaked havoc in Odisha with authorities mobilising men and machinery, and launching an evacuation drive in seven districts in the southern part. "Many low-lying areas will be inundated in the identified districts. Flash floods are feared in the hilly areas of Odisha's southern region. Urban pockets in Ganjam and Puri could experience waterlogging due to heavy to very heavy and extremely heavy rainfall in parts," IMD director general Mrutunjay Mohapatra said.
Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) PK Jena said as many as 42 teams of the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) and 24 squads of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), along with about 102 teams of fire brigade personnel, have been sent to Gajapati, Ganjam, Rayagada, Koraput, Malkangiri, Nabarangpur and Kandhamal. Ganjam is expected to be severely affected by the cyclonic storm, and 15 rescue teams have been deployed in that area alone, Jena said. He added that 11 fire service units, six teams of the ODRAF and eight of the NDRF are on standby for emergency purposes.
Jena said the intensity of the cyclone will be similar to that of ‘Titli’, which battered the state in 2018. "During the landfall, the wind speed could hover between 90kmph and 100 kmph. Barring that period, the velocity on Sunday is expected to be limited to 70kmph. Four-five districts will receive heavy rainfall. Southern Odisha rivers such as Rushikulya, Nagabali and Vansadhara could swell due to extremely heavy rainfall," he said.
In Andhra Pradesh, three teams of NDRF and one team of SDRF have been positioned in north coastal districts for rescue and relief operations. According to a government release, authorities in Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts have prepared a plan of action to possibly shift about 86,000 families from low-lying areas to cyclone relief shelters. Two teams of NDRF have been deployed in the Srikakulam district, which is expected to have more impact of the cyclone, and another in Visakhapatnam.
The storm is likely to reach the West Bengal coast around September 29, IMD Kolkata’s director GK Das told news agency ANI. “South Bengal is likely to have enhanced weather activity particularly in terms of heavy rainfall and wind on September 28 and 29. Heavy rainfall is expected over Kolkata, North 24 Parganas, East and West Medinipur, Jhargram, Howrah and Hooghly on September 28,” Das added.
The sea condition will be rough to very rough over the next three days and fishermen in Odisha, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh have been asked to not venture into the east-central and adjoining the northeast Bay of Bengal.