Friday, 11 October 2013

Cyclone Phailin set to hit Gopalpur-Berhampur coast in Odisha at a wind speed of 210-220 kmph tomorrow: Administration on tenterhooks

Cyclone Phailin has been predicted to move northwestwards and cross north Andhra Pradesh and Odisha close to Gopalpur-Berhampur coast (Odisha) by Saturday evening as a very severe cyclonic storm with a maximum sustained wind speed of 205-215 km per hour (kmph), the met department has said. "The very severe cyclonic storm, Phailin, over east central Bay of Bengal moved west-northwestwards with a speed of 15 kmph and lay centred about 520km south-southeast of Paradip, 530km from Gopalpur and 530km east-southeast of Kalingapatnam," the met department said in its latest bulletin. Squally winds speed reaching 45-55 kmph gusting to 65 kmph would commence along Odisha coast from Friday morning. It would increase in intensity with gale wind speed reaching 205-215 kmph along and off coastal districts of south Odisha at the time of landfall. State of the sea along and off Odisha coast will be rough to very rough from Friday morning and will become phenomenal on October 12. The cyclonic storm, Phailin, over east central Bay of Bengal moved westwards and intensified further and lay centred at 230 am on Friday near latitude 15.50N and longitude 89.000E, about 590km south-southeast of Paradip and 600km southeast of Gopalpur.

Similarly, though the met department forecast a storm surge of 1.5 metre to 2 metre in Ganjam, Khurda, Puri and Jagatsinghpur districts in the coast on Thursday, on Friday it said the storm surge height will be around 2 metre to 2.5 metre above astronomical tide. This would inundate low lying areas of Ganjam, Khurda, Puri and Jagatsinghpur in Odisha. A worried state government held several meetings and took stock of the situation in the changed circumstances. The state government has already asked the district authorities to start evacuation of people living in low lying areas close to the sea. Fearing high tide, the seaside hotels have been instructed to cancel their bookings. The possibility of a cyclone has prompted the twin city commensurate police to asses safety measures at large puja mandaps and tableaux made of bamboo, wood and other heavy materials.

'Not less than a super cyclone'
Cyclone Phailin with a windspeed of 220 kmph is turning into a super cyclone before making landfall on Saturday evening near Gopalpur in Odisha where the government has galvanised its machinery to deal with its impact and is evacuating people from low-lying areas. “The U.S. Navy has also forecast that the wind speed will be above 240 kmph. Therefore, the cyclone is not less than any super cyclone for us,” Special Relief Commissioner P.K. Mohapatra said.

He said that though the IMD on Thursday indicated that the wind speed would be limited to 185 kmph, it was now forecasting it at 220 kmph. Mr. Mohapatra said the IMD had declared the 1999 calamity as a super cyclone as the wind speed had crossed 220 kmph. “This time around, the wind speed is not much different than the previous super cyclone,” he said. Squalls with a wind speed of 45-55 kmph to 65 kmph have already started along Odisha coast since morning. “It would increase in intensity with gale wind speeds reaching 210-220 kmph along and off south Odisha at the time of landfall,” the IMD said in a bulletin categorised as an Orange Message.
It would make landfall near Gopalpur in Ganjam district on Saturday evening after crossing an area between Paradip in Odisha and Kalingapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. The IMD said the cyclone over east central Bay of Bengal remained stationary and lay 520 km south-southeast of Paradip and 530 km southeast of Gopalpur. The IMD forecast a storm surge of 2.5 meter to 3.0 meter in Ganjam, Khurda, Puri and Jagatsinghpur districts. A storm surge is a rise of the sea as a result of atmospheric pressure changes and winds associated with a storm.
Local Cautionary (LC-III) has been hoisted in all the ports in the State.The Navy, the Air Force, the National Disaster Response Force and the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force were ready for relief and rescue operations as soon as the cyclone hits the coast, Mr. Mohapatra said. A worried State government held meetings and evaluated the changed circumstances. “At least 28 teams of the National Disaster Response Forces are at the disposal of the Odisha government for evacuation and relief operations,” a senior official said after one such meeting. So far eight teams of NDRF, reaching having 20 personnel, have been deployed in Puri district, the official said. Revenue and Disaster Management Minister S.N. Patro said district collectors have been told to complete evacuation of people by Friday evening. “We do not want to take any chance,” Mr. Patro said, adding that shelters were ready.

Source: Times of India, IBN Live, amp; IMD, The Pioneer &The Hindu

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