Andhra on alert as 'Asani' likely to hit coast near Machilipatnam
Visakhapatnam, May 10 (IANS) Coastal districts in Andhra Pradesh were Tuesday put on alert in view of Severe Cyclonic Storm 'Asani' in Bay of Bengal changing its course as it nears the coast.
Amid reports quoting a weather observation station in the US that the cyclone may cross the coast by Wednesday evening near Machilipatnam, authorities in all the districts along Andhra coast went on alert.
After crossing the coast, the cyclone is likely to recurve and reemerge in Bay of Bengal near Visakhapatnam.
Heavy to very heavy rains are likely in Krishna, Guntur, Kakinada, Konaseema, West Godavari, East Godavari and Visakhapatnam districts. The coastal region is likely to experience gusty winds with 75-95 kmph speed.
District administration in the districts likely to be affected have opened control rooms. People in coastal and low-lying areas have been alerted.
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is closely monitoring the situation and has kept its teams on standby for rescue and relief operations.
The Indian Navy is also on alert for rescue and relief. Senior officials of the Eastern Naval Command, which has its headquarters in Visakhapatnam, are in regular contact with the authorities in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla reviewed the situation through a video conference with disaster management authorities in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha
From Andhra Pradesh, Principal Secretary, Disaster Management, G. Sai Prasad and Andhra Pradesh State Disaster Management Authority Director B. R. Ambedkar participated in the video conference and briefed the Union Home Secretary on the preventive steps taken.
Sai Prasad said nine teams each of NDRF and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) have been sent to the districts likely to be affected.
He, along with Ambedkar, is continuously monitoring the cyclone situation from the state emergency operation centre and issuing necessary directions to the districts concerned.
State Home Minister Taneti Vanitha also reviewed the situation with top officials in view of the forecast heavy to very heavy rains across the state under the impact of the cyclone.
Parts of north and south coastal Andhra received heavy rains accompanied by gusty winds on Tuesday. Machilipatnam also experienced rains and gusty winds. Authorities stopped electricity supply in some areas as a precautionary measure.
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the cyclone lay centered at about 210 km south-southeast of Kakinada and 310 km south-southwest of Visakhapatnam. It is very likely to move nearly northwestwards and reach west-central Bay of Bengal close to Kakinada-Visakhapatnam coasts by May 11 morning. Thereafter, it is very likely to recurve slowly north-northeast wards and move along Andhra Pradesh coast between Kakinada and Visakhapatnam and then emerge into Northwest Bay of Bengal off North Andhra Pradesh and Odisha coasts. It is likely to weaken gradually into a cyclonic storm and subsequently into a depression.
Storm surge of about 0.5 m above astronomical tide is likely to inundate low lying areas of Krishna, East and West Godavari and Vishakhapatnam districts, an IMD bulletin said.
The IMD has suggested total suspension of fishing operations and advised fishermen not to venture into the sea till May 12.
In Krishna, East and West Godavari and Visakhapatnam districts, damage to thatched huts, minor damage to power and communication lines due to breaking of branches and major damage to Kutcha and minor damage to Pucca roads is likely. Some damage to paddy crops, banana, papaya trees and orchards is also anticipated.