Over 1 million evacuated, states brace for Yaas landfall today
Yaas intensified into a “very severe cyclonic storm” on Tuesday evening and hurtled towards India’s eastern coast as Odisha and West Bengal braced for landfall, and evacuated roughly 1.4 million people from low-lying areas and corralled them into storm shelters.
In Bengal, two people were electrocuted and around 80 houses were destroyed in a pre-cyclone storm as the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the cyclone was likely to hit close to the Chandbali-Dhamra port in Odisha by noon on Wednesday.
“During landfall it will have a wind speed up to 185 kmph. The landfall will be at Chandbali, which is likely to witness the maximum damage. Even after landfall, Yaas will maintain the intensity of a cyclone for about 12 to 18 hours before it degenerates,” said IMD director general Mrutyunjay Mohapatra.
Odisha is anticipated to bear the maximum brunt of the second major cyclone to hit the country in nine days with some impact on West Bengal, primarily driven by surge and rainfall-induced floods in the coastal districts.
Odisha’s special relief commissioner Pradip Jena said 500,000 people were shifted to cyclone shelters in 15 districts. West Bengal evacuated roughly 900,000 people, said chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
Jharkhand, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh prepared for the storm’s impact too.
Experts said there was likely to be total destruction of thatched houses; extensive damage to mud houses; potential threat from flying objects; bending/uprooting of power and communication poles and widespread damage to standing crops.