IMD sounds cyclone Gulab alert for Andhra Pradesh, Odisha

Gulab is likely to cross the north Andhra Pradesh-south Odisha coasts between Kalingapatnam and Gopalpur, with a wind speed of 75 to 85 kmph gusting to 90 kmph on Sunday evening, the IMD said.
NDRF personnel prepared to take positions in view of IMD’s cyclone Gulab alert in Odisha. (Twitter/NDRF)
NDRF personnel prepared to take positions in view of IMD’s cyclone Gulab alert in Odisha. (Twitter/NDRF)
Updated on Sep 26, 2021 04:28 AM IST
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ByJayashree Nandi and Amitoj Singh Kalsi, New Delhi

A deep depression over east-central Bay of Bengal intensified into a cyclone on Saturday and an orange alert has been issued for north Andhra Pradesh and adjoining south Odisha coasts, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

Gulab is likely to cross the north Andhra Pradesh-south Odisha coasts between Kalingapatnam and Gopalpur, with a wind speed of 75 to 85 kmph gusting to 90 kmph on Sunday evening, the weather body added.

According to scientists, cyclones are formed often at the end of monsoon or during the post-monsoon period. The orange alert is issued as a warning of extremely bad weather with the potential of disruption in commute with road and rail closures, and interruption of power supply.

The depression over Bay of Bengal was formed on Friday and gradually intensified on Saturday morning. At 5.30 pm on Saturday, cyclone Gulab lay over northwest and adjoining west-central Bay of Bengal, about 370 km east-southeast of Gopalpur in Odisha and 440 km east of Kalingapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.

The system is expected to bring widespread rainfall to parts of east India on Sunday and Monday and to central India after it weakens into a well-marked low pressure system, officials in the weather department familiar with the developments said.

This is the second depression formed over the Bay of Bengal in September and this season. No depressions were formed between June and August. The first deep depression of the season was formed on September 13.

Normally, five to six depressions form during the monsoon season and bring extensive rainfall to central and west India.

“Conditions like ocean heat potential, above-normal sea surface temperature (28 to 29 degrees) and low vertical wind shear are favourable for cyclogenesis. When it (cyclone Gulab) crosses the Odisha coast around Sunday, very heavy rain is expected there and over Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh as well after it weakens into a well-marked low pressure area. We are not expecting further intensification of Gulab now. There is a trough in the lower levels which is extending up to the Pacific where cyclonic circulations are forming one after another. The remnants of these circulations are leading to formation of low pressure systems over Bay of Bengal,” Sunitha Devi, in charge of cyclones at IMD, said.

The weather body has also predicted tidal waves of about 0.5 m height which are likely to inundate low lying areas of Srikakulam, Sompeta, Vizianagaram and Ganjam districts when the cyclone makes landfall.

Fishermen have been advised not to venture into east-central and adjoining northeast Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea on Saturday and Sunday.

In view of the weather alert, the Andhra Pradesh government hoisted the “First Warning Flag” at Visakhapatnam port while in Odisha, the district administration began evacuations in several districts.

The Andhra government also put the three north coastal districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam and ports of Gangavaram and Kakinada on alert.

“Under the impact of the deep depression, coastal Andhra has already started witnessing light to moderate rains in many parts and heavy rains at scattered places,” state disaster management commissioner K Kanna Babu said.

Two teams of national disaster response force (NDRF) have been deployed in Srikakulam district, which is expected to have more impact from the cyclone, and another in Visakhapatnam. A state disaster response force (SDRF) team has been positioned in Visakhapatnam for emergency response.

Srikakulam district collector Shrikesh B Lathkar said officials belonging to all departments, including revenue, police and electricity, have been kept on standby to meet emergencies. “In all, three teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been pressed into service to take up rescue operations in the event of any emergency situation,” he said.

The Odisha government has directed collectors of seven districts to evacuate residents in vulnerable areas. It has already initiated deployment of 173 teams of Odisha disaster rapid action force, NDRF and fire services.

Additional chief secretary Pradeep Jena said the cyclone may cross south Odisha-North Andhra Pradesh coasts around Kalingapatnam by Saturday evening, triggering heavy to very heavy rainfall in Ganjam, Gajapati, Rayagada, Kandhamal, Malkangiri, Nabarangpur and Koraput districts.

“We are preparing for all possible devastation.There may be landslides in Gajapati and Rayagada districts as faced during very severe cyclonic storm Titli in 2018,” Jena said.

Jena added that holidays of all officials at Gajapati and Koraput district were cancelled on Friday and Saturday in view of the situation.

Meanwhile, the IMD has also predicted the formation of a new low-pressure system near the coast of Myanmar, which, in all probability, will dump heavy rain in West Bengal’s southern districts next week.

Kolkata and its adjoining areas, which are still reeling under the impact of torrential rain that occurred earlier this week, should brace for heavy showers next Tuesday and Wednesday owing to this new weather system, the IMD said in its forecast.

“As of now, we are not evacuating anyone. But if required, we would do so. The army and NDRF have been asked to remain on standby as there could be heavy water logging. The districts in south Bengal received heavy rain earlier this week and some areas are still inundated. We are keeping relief materials ready, including dry food, water pouches and medicines,” a senior official of the state’s disaster management department said, seeking anonymity.

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Tuesday, November 30, 2021