Cyclonic storm ‘Fani’, which is approaching the coastal state of Odisha, has intensified and turned into an “extremely severe cyclonic” storm, said the Indian Navy last night. The weather department has put the state on “Yellow Alert”.
The IMD has also issued a formal cyclone alert in Odisha, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. It has also suggested the evacuation of coastal areas. The severe cyclonic storm Fani will hit Bangladesh tomorrow, Bangladesh Meteorological Department said in its updated forecast this morning. Gusty wind with speed 40-50 km per hour is expected at isolated places over coastal Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Jammu and Kashmir, sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim.
Locations from Visakhapatnam northward to the border with Bangladesh should prepare for hazardous conditions as the storm approaches. The stretch of coast from Bhubaneshwar (Odisha) to Kolkata (W Bengal) could experience 125-250mm rain until Saturday (see map below).
The Navy, the Coast Guard and the National Disaster Response Force are on high alert. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted heavy to very heavy rain in several areas of the Odisha coast while giving a yellow warning to the coastal state.
The Cyclone Warning Division of the IMD has said that Cyclone Fani (pronounced Foni) lays southwest and adjoining west-central and south-east Bay of Bengal about 760 km south-southwest of Puri (Odisha) and 560 km south-southeast of Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) and about 660 km north-northeast of Trincomalee (Sri Lanka).
Densely-populated coastal cities like Visakhapatnam, Puri, Bhubaneshwar, and Kolkata are vulnerable to high impacts from flooding and gusty winds. Many parts of eastern coastal India are in danger of flooding, as 24-hour rainfall accumulation may cross 30 cm on Friday.
On Saturday, West Bengal will face the maximum impact with up to 15 cm rain expected in just 12 hours at some places in southern districts. Risk of localized flooding prevails across all three states on Friday and Saturday. Heavy rainfall is also expected across the northeastern states from Saturday evening.
Indian Naval ships at Visakhapatnam and Chennai has also been kept at standby so that it can proceed to the most affected areas to undertake humanitarian aid distress relief work, evacuation, logistic support, including providing medical aid.
Naval aircraft are also on stand-by at the Naval Air Stations INS Rajali at Arakkonam, Tamil Nadu and INS Dega at Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, to undertake reconnaissance, rescue, casualty evacuation and air drop of relief material to the stranded if required, the spokesperson added.
The ENC is closely monitoring the developments in the Bay of Bengal and Flag Officer Tamil Nadu and Puducherry Naval Area (FOTNA) and Naval Officers-in-Charge (Andhra Pradesh) and (Odisha) are in constant communication with respective state administrations.
Emergency personnel have also been deployed ahead of any possible devastation. Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan took to his Twitter handle urging the people to stay calm.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today chaired a high-level meeting to review preparedness on the ground ahead of Cyclone Fani.
The Cabinet Secretary, the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Home Secretary and senior officials from the Indian Meteorological Department, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) briefed the Prime Minister about the situation.
PM Modi instructed his senior officers to stay in close touch with the affected states and ensure effective measures are taken.