The tropical cyclonic storm Fani is headed towards the coast of Odisha, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh with a possible warning of a landslide in Puri on Friday (May 3). Odisha is on 'yellow alert' and West Bengal is on 'Orange alert' due to the gaining intensity of the cyclone.
With the population over 100 million people in both the states, the Cyclone Fani that is currently gaining its strength near the Bay of Bengal is forecast to track its way to the north-east region of India shortly. Mass evacuations are being held at the coastal areas of these states.
Cyclone Fani is expected to intensify from Thursday morning. It is expected to create strong winds with a speed of 200 kmph, creating widespread damage near Odisha and the neighbouring states. The authorities have warned the fishermen and local people from going into the sea and to keep away from the coastal areas to prevent any mishaps. The Indian Navy has also been alerted to keep a wide watch for the cyclonic storm that will hit the north-east coastlines with a major force.
Sustained winds of 204 km/h will make Fani equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane at its peak intensity. Forecast models suggest Fani will likely maintain its strength as it nears the coast. Once the storm makes landfall Friday, Fani will steadily weaken as it continues to track inland towards Bangladesh, reports The Weather Network.
Evacuation process has also been started in Odisha, the state government has asked the tourists to evacuate the temple town of Puri by Thursday evening fearing the high impact of the cyclone that will result in a landslide.
According to a government statement, about 800,000 people are expected to be evacuated from low-lying areas of 14 districts in Odisha to multipurpose cyclone shelters, safer schools and college buildings. The people will be evacuated with the help of helicopters, buses, boats and trains.
The Indian Railways have also cancelled nearly 103 trains on Wednesday in the wake of Cyclone Fani. The railway's department has also diverted two trains due to the cyclone that is likely to affect 19 districts of Odisha, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in its bulletin issued on Wednesday and based on a 5.30am forecast that Cyclone Fani has moved northwestwards with a speed of about 10 kmph in last six hours and lay centred about 680km south-southwest of Puri and 430km south-southeast of Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, reports Hindustan Times.
The Indian Navy and the coast guard have deployed ships and helicopters for relief and rescue operations. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is deploying 28 teams in the vulnerable areas of the state.