Andhra and Odisha get ready to face Cyclone Roanu's wrath

Every time there's news about a cyclone, it — more often than not — is expected to hit Andhra Pradesh.

This isn't a figment of your imagination.

A report in The Hindu talks about how, since the Diviseema cyclone in 1975, the state has faced more than 60 of them, including moderate and violent ones. The 1975 one in particular was the most devastating: 10,000 were killed, a million houses and 1.35 million hectares damaged with the total loss estimated to be around Rs 172 crore.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The Met department said in a cyclone warning for West Bengal that "the cyclonic storm ROANU would move northeast wards along and off West Bengal coast and cross Bangladesh coast between Khepupara and Cox's Bazar on 21 May night/22 May early morning".

Coastal and Gangetic West Bengal is also likely to face heavy rainfall during the next 48 hours as Roanu will move towards the state's coastline.

A deep depression over west-central Bay of Bengal that intensified into cyclonic storm Roanu will most likely hit parts of Odisha and further move north-northeastwards along and off Andhra Pradesh coast on Friday.

The storm Roanu has now moved northeastwards and is centred around 280 km southwest, off Gopalpur coast on Friday, even as rains coupled with gusty surface winds lashed several parts of Odisha.

It is likely to move further northeastwards along and off Andhra Pradesh and Odisha coast and intensify into a severe cyclonic storm by Friday night, the Bhubaneswar Meteorological centre said.

Heavy rains have already been lashing different parts of Andhra Pradesh: SPS Nellore, Prakasam and Guntur districts witnessed heavy rainfall on Wednesday, Krishna, East Godavari and Visakhapatnam have been receiving heavy rains Thursday.

According to Skymetweather.com, Roanu, which continues to gain strength, has already hit the southern coastal districts of AP: Machilipatnam recorded heavy showers of 68 mm till early Friday morning.

Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu directed officials to take steps to ensure that normal life was not affected. "Open relief camps wherever required. Evacuate people living in vulnerable areas to safety. Keep adequate stocks of food and other essential items ready to meet any eventuality," he told Chief Secretary Satya Prakash Tucker and collectors of various districts during a teleconference with top officials to review the situation.

He also asked the officials to closely observe the movement of Roanu and assess its impact, to clear all "uprooted trees and electric poles", and that the NDRF, State Disaster Response and fire service personnel should focus on rescue operations.

The Cyclone Warning Centre (CWC) has also asked the fishermen not to venture into the sea along and off the Andhra coast, reported News18. It also included a statement from the CWC: "Gales with speed reaching 90 to 100 km/ph gusting at 110 km/ph are very likely to prevail and strong surface winds from a westerly direction with speed reaching 60 to 70 km/ph are also likely along and off south coastal AP".

Cyclonic storm Roanu. Image courtesy IMD

Cyclonic storm Roanu. Image courtesy IMD

The same Roanu is expected to cause damage to thatched huts, minor damage to power, communication lines and pucca roads and major damage to kutcha roads, over coastal Odisha. In view of the weather conditions, Distant Warning Signal Number Two (DW-II) was replaced by Local Cautionary Signal Number Three (LC-III) at all ports in the state.

Rain and thundershowers have already hit many places in Ganjam, Khurda, Puri, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, and Balasore in Odisha, disrupting normal life, according to weathermen.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik directed all the departments to remain alert to face any eventuality due to Roanu. He also held a video conference meeting with the collectors of coastal and southern districts on Thursday evening.

Currently, the cyclone, centred at around 85 km south-to-southeast of Machilipatnam and around 290 km south-to-southwest of Visakhapatnam, is moving at a pace of 15 km ph.

Roanu is likely to cross the south Bangladesh coast between Khepupara and Cox's Bazar by Saturday night or early morning on 22 May as a cyclonic storm, the Bhubaneswar Met office said.

Meanwhile, the state government has cancelled leave of government employees on Friday and Saturday; it may be extended depending on the situation.

While 10 teams of Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) and fire service personnel have been kept ready, Chief Secretary AP Padhi said, the government will arrange more personnel if required.

This heavy rainfall prediction comes at a time when heatwave continues to wreck havoc across North India, with the temperature hitting 47 degree Celsius in some parts of the NCR on Wednesday. The IMD even had to declare an 'Orange Alert', asking people to take precautions against the heat wave.

With inputs from PTI


Published Date: May 20, 2016 11:56 am | Updated Date: May 20, 2016 07:45 pm