The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) in Hyderabad announced on Tuesday that tropical cyclone 'Lehar' will make landfall on Thursday noon, instead of evening on the same day, near Kakinada in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh.
"The system would intensify, move west-northwestwards and cross Andhra Pradesh coast between Machillipatnam and Kalingapatnam near Kakinada around 28 November noon," IMD Hyderabad stated in its latest bulletin.
After Cyclone Phailin and Helen, the state government is gearing up to face another sever cyclonic storm. The administration under Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy has alerted Army, Navy, Coast Guard and Marine police, reported All India Radio.
At 5.30 am on Tuesday, the 'very severe cyclonic storm' laid centred over southeast Bay of Bengal, 970 km east-southeast of Kakinada and 900 km southeast of Kalingapatnam. Lehar has been advancing westwards at the speed of 15 kmph since 5.30 am.
Lehar crossed Andaman and Nicobar Islands on Monday and laid about 300 km west-northwest of Port Blair on Tuesday. The IMD warned of isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall in the islands for next 12 hours.
The IMD warned that Lehar will trigger moderate rainfall over south Odisha and north coastal districts of AP from Wednesday afternoon. "Intensity would gradually increase with rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places and isolated extremely heavy falls over north coastal Andhra Pradesh on 28 and isolated heavy rainfall over south Odisha," the statement said.
The Odisha government has put its district authorities on alert, reported TOI. IMD Bhubaneswar cautioned the government saying, "Request for necessary steps for standing crops in the field in the districts of South and Western Odisha. Fishermen who are in the deep sea are advised to return to the coast immediately."
On Tuesday evening, sea conditions will be rough to very rough along the coastline of south Odisha and north AP. After cylcone Lehar makes landfall, wind speeds are expected to reach "170-180 kmph gusting to 200 kmph along and off coastal districts of north coastal Andhra Pradesh and adjoining south coastal Andhra Pradesh," stated IMD.