Cyclone Fani, which is forming over the Bay of Bengal with wind speeds up to 200 kmph, has turned into an “extremely severe cyclonic” storm, the Navy said late on Tuesday night.
Coastal Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are on high alert. “The speed of Cyclone Fani at the time of rainfall will be 175-185 kmph,” HR Biswas, director of Meteorological Department, Bhubaneswar, told news agency ANI.
Odisha’s 879 multipurpose cyclone shelters have been kept ready. The shelters can accommodate about one million people during cyclones and floods.
“The cyclone will move along the coast of Odisha and go to West Bengal. We have suggested suspension and diversion of railway traffic and advised people to remain indoor,” Mr Biswas said.
As per IMD, the cyclonic storm is likely to cross Odisha coast near Puri between the coast of Gopalpur and Chandbali. During the time of landfall, the speed of the cyclone is likely to remain 175 to 185 kmph gusting up to 200 kmph.
The centre on Tuesday ordered release of Rs 1,086 crore to four states as advance financial assistance for undertaking preventive and relief measures to deal with Cyclone Fani. Of the sanctioned amount, Odisha will receive Rs 340.87 crore, Tamil Nadu Rs 309.37 crore, West Bengal Rs 235.50 crore and Andhra Pradesh Rs 200.25 crore.
Cyclone Fani is located at around 650 km South-Southwest of Puri and 390 km south-southeast of Vishakhapatnam coast. The cyclone is moving towards Odisha at a speed of 10 km per hour. It is likely to move North-Northwestwards till May 1 noon and thereafter recurve North-Northeastwards.
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is deploying 41 teams at areas considered to be vulnerable – Andhra Pradesh (8), Odisha (28) and West Bengal (5). The NDRF has also kept on standby 13 teams in West Bengal and 10 in Andhra Pradesh.
The wind speed of a cyclonic storm is 80-90 kmph with winds gusting up to 100 kmph. In case of an “extremely severe cyclonic storm”, the wind speed goes up to 170-180 kmph and could reach up to 195-200 kmph.