North coastal AP on high alert for cyclonic storm 'Titli'

A high alert was sounded Wednesday in north coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh as the "very severe" cyclonic storm Titli is expected to cross the Bay of Bengal coast Thursday, packing winds speeding up to 165 kmph and likely causing heavy rains and destruction, officials said.

Fishermen have been warned not to venture into the sea as gale speed winds are expected under the impact of the cyclonic storm, the State Disaster Management Authority here said.

"The very severe cyclonic storm will continue till 11.30 am on October 11 and the wind intensity is going to be 140-150 kmph, gusting to 165 kmph. The storm will cross near Srikakulam of north coastal Andhra Pradesh," the SDMA said.

Widespread damage to properties was a possibility, it warned, adding a storm surge about one metre higher than astronomical tide was likely to inundate low-lying areas in Srikakulam district.

A team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) was positioned in Srikakulam district, while three more were kept on standby in Visakhapatnam.

An SDRF team was stationed in Vizianagaram district and one each was on standby in Visakhapatnam and East Godavari districts, officials said.

A South Central Railway release said Secunderabad- Howrah Falaknuma Express has been diverted to run via Kazipet, Balharshah, Nagpur, Bilaspur, Tatanagar and Kharagpur.

The State Disaster Management Authority has set up a toll-free telephone no. 18004250101 at its Emergency Operations Centre to assist people in distress, while control rooms have been opened in the three north coastal districts.

"We have put the respective district authorities on high alert. Advisories have also been issued to people to stay safe and remain mostly indoors in view of the very severe cyclonic storm. Necessary precautionary measures are being taken," state Disaster Commissioner M Seshagiri Babu said.

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