Tourists asked to leave Puri as cyclone 'Fani' approaches Odisha

The Odisha government on Wednesday advised tourists to leave the seaside pilgrim town of Puri in view of the extremely severe cyclonic storm 'Fani' moving closer to Odisha coast, a senior official said.

It has also ordered closure of all educational institutions in the state.

The India Meteorological Department said in a bulletin that 'Fani' (pronounced as Foni) is likely to cross the Odisha coast near Satapada in Puri district on Friday afternoon with a maximum sustained speed of 175-185 kmph and gusting up to 205 kmph.

The wind speed of a cyclonic storm is 80-90 kmph gusting up to 100 kmph. In case of an 'extremely severe cyclonic storm', the wind speed goes up to 170-180 kmph and could gain the speed of 195-200 kmph.

The IMD has issued its 'yellow warning' for the Odisha coast and suggested total suspension of fishing activities, extensive evacuation from coastal areas and diversion or suspension of rail and road traffic.

A yellow warning indicates severely bad weather, warning people who are at risk to take preventive action.

"All educational establishments should declare holiday from May 2 till further orders and the examinations should be rescheduled," Special Relief Commissioner B P Sethi said.

With 'Fani' likely to hit the coast near Puri, tourists have been advised to leave the town by Wednesday evening, the SRC said.

Non-essential travel to the districts, likely to be affected by the cyclone, may be cancelled during May 3-4, Sethi said.

With tidal waves likely to inundate vast areas in the coastal districts, evacuation of people from all low-lying and vulnerable areas will be completed on Thursday, he said.

Citing the latest forecast by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC), the SRC said, 'Fani' is expected to cross the coast near Puri on May 3 afternoon before landfall.

It is then likely to pass through Jagatsinghpur, Cuttack, Khurda, Jajpur, Bhadrak, Balasore and Mayurbhanj in Odisha before entering West Bengal, he said.

Meanwhile, the cyclone has moved northwestwards with a speed of about 10 kmph and lay centred over west central and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal, about 680 km south-southwest of Puri and 430 km south-southeast of Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh). I

The wind speed may go up to 205 kmph over Odisha coast by May 3 evening for the subsequent 12 hours and decrease thereafter, the IMD said.

Heavy to very heavy rainfall is expected at isolated places in south coastal Odisha on Thursday.

Rainfall is also likely to increase at isolated places in coastal and interior Odisha on Friday, Director of Regional Meteorological Centre, H R Biswas said.

Pointing out that average rainfall in several areas will be up to 20 cm, he said the impact of 'Fani' will be much more severe than 'Titli' which had hit the coast last year, Biswas said.

All the 880 cyclone centres have been equipped with modern facilities and trained manpower have been readied for the purpose. Each centre can accommodate around 1000 people, Chief Secretary A P Padhi said.

While the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is deploying 28 teams in Odisha, 20 units of the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) and 335 units of fire services have also been kept ready, he said.

A team of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) comprises about 45 personnel.

Distant warning signal II (DW-II) has been hoisted in all ports of Odisha and fishermen have been advised not to venture into the sea from Wednesday, the IMD said.

Districts like Gajapati, Ganjam, Khurda, Puri, Nayagarh, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur, Bhadrak, Kendrapara, Balasore, Kandhamal, Rayagada, Angul, Dhenkanal, Keonjhar Mayurbhanj in Odisha have been put on high alert.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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