New Delhi: The India Meteorological Department said on Wednesday that Cyclone Titli, which intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm over the Bay of Bengal on Wednesday as it moved towards the Odisha coast, is expected to make a landfall on Thursday at 5.30am.
Schools, colleges and anganwadi centres in four districts of Odisha have been ordered shut on Wednesday and Thursday.
“Titli moved with a speed of about 14 kmph and intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm and lay centred over the west-central Bay of Bengal, about 320 km south-southeast of Gopalpur in Odisha,” IMD said in a bulletin.
- The weather office said the cyclonic storm is likely to make a landfall between Gopalpur in Odisha and Kalingapatanam in Andhra Pradesh at a wind speed gusting up to 165 kilometres per hour.
- The department has issued a two-day red alert for Odisha and a one-day red alert (for October 11) for the north coastal area of Andhra Pradesh.
- The cyclone will bring in its wake very heavy rain, which could lead to flooding, and strong winds.
- Orange alerts (a step below the highest red alert) have been issued for many areas of Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and the Northeast.
- The weather office also predicted “total destruction” of thatched houses and “extensive damage” to kutcha houses.
- Power and communication poles could be uprooted while there could be minor disruption to railway lines. The IMD has also predicted widespread damage to standing crops.
- During previous cyclones such as Phailin in 2013 and Hudhud in 2014, Odisha had achieved the ‘zero casualty’ target, earning laurels from the United Nations.
- The district administration of Ganjam has already started evacuating people in beach town of Gopalpur, ‘Titli’ is likely to make a landfall at around 5:30 am tomorrow, Odisha Chief Secretary AP Padhi said.
- Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who took stock of the situation, asked the collectors of Ganjam, Puri, Khurda, Kendrapara and Jagtsinghpur districts to go for an immediate evacuation of people in low-lying areas in the coastal belt.
- The Odisha government said it is prepared to face possible floods due to heavy rain.Low-lying areas of Ganjam, Khurda and Puri districts are likely to be inundated because of storm surge of height of about 1 metre above astronomical tide, according to the Met department.
East coast Railway has cancelled at least eight trains and suspended services between Khurda Road in odisha and Vizianagaram in Andhra Pradesh after 10 PM tonight till further advice in view of Cyclone Titli.
- The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force have already been positioned in vulnerable districts. “We have not yet sought help of Army. If required we may go for it,” Mr Padhi said. Another official said the Air Force and the Navy have been alerted about the situation and may take their help if required.
- Around 300 motor boats are on stand-by in Odisha for rescue efforts if there is flooding. All the 836 cyclone and flood shelters have also been kept ready, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) BP Sethi said.
- Fishermen in Odisha coast have been advised not to venture into sea till Friday.
- By Thursday night, Titli will weaken into a cyclonic storm before ultimately dissipating as a depression by the night of October 12.
Click here to see a Google Maps reconstruction of the path the IMD has said Titli will likely take. The reconstruction starts with Titli’s position at 2.30 pm on Wednesday in the Bay of Bengal. All movements after that are predictions given by the IMD.