Cyclonic storm 'Fani', which is approaching the coastal state of Odisha, has intensified and turned into an "extremely severe cyclonic" storm, said the Indian Navy last night. The weather department has put the state on "Yellow Alert". The Navy, the Coast Guard and the National Disaster Response Force are on high alert. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted heavy to very heavy rain in several areas of the Odisha coast while giving a yellow warning to the coastal state.
The IMD has also issued a formal cyclone alert in Odisha, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. It has also suggested the evacuation of coastal areas.
A total of 879 multipurpose cyclone shelters in Odisha have reportedly been kept ready.These shelters can accommodate as many as 1 million people during cyclones and floods. "Navy and Coast Guard ships and helicopters, relief teams of the National Disaster Response Force have been deployed in strategic locations, while Army and Air Force units have been put on standby as severe cyclonic storm 'Fani' is approaching towards India's eastern coast," PTI quoted officials as saying.
The weather department said: "Heavy to very heavy rainfall at few places over coastal Odisha and adjoining districts of north coastal Andhra Pradesh is expected on 3 and 4 May. Light to moderate rainfall at most places with heavy rainfall at isolated places very likely over coastal districts of West Bengal on 3 & 4 May."
The Cyclone Warning Division of the IMD has said that Cyclone Fani (pronounced Foni) lays southwest and adjoining west-central and south-east Bay of Bengal about 760 km south-southwest of Puri (Odisha) and 560 km south-southeast of Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) and about 660 km north-northeast of Trincomalee (Sri Lanka).
'Fani' is very likely to move north-westwards till May 1 evening and thereafter recurve north-northeastwards and cross the Odisha coast between Gopalpur and Chandbali, to the south of Puri around May 3 afternoon with maximum sustained wind speed of 175-185 kilometres per hour gusting to 205 kmph, the IMD said.
(Edited by: Nehal Solanki)