FANI … Landfall likely in Puri on Friday morning… airports shut, evacuations on, Odisha districts may bear the brunt

image credit … ACCUWEATHER.COM


UPDATE: 8AM, FRIDAY: Cyclone Fani was at 65km close to Gopalpur in the southern end of Odisha … and 80km from Puri in the northern part of the state this morning, the weather office tracking the situation stated.

BHUBANESWAR: Airport shut, coastal inhabitants evacuated to safety, and safety mechanisms in full gear, the eastern Indian states of Odisha and West Bengal along the Bay of Bengal are in fearful anticipation of Cyclone Fani Thursday night. The landfall is likely in Puri by early Friday morning. Fani is moving at a speed of 200km per hour.

Odisha could be the worst-hit. Torrential rain, storm, and floods are feared. Inhabitants of some 10,000 villages were being evacuated. The “extremely severe” cyclonic storm was likely to make a landfall in the pilgrim town of Puri as per alerts. The Indian Meteorological Department has issued a Yellow Alert to Odisha, West Bengal and three northern districts of Andhra Pradesh.

The Bhubaneswar airport has been ordered shut and so would Kolkata airport from Friday till 6pm Saturday. Ports along the eastern coast have been shut. Indian Naval ships like INS Ranvir, INS Sahyadri and INS Kadmatt were deployed in the sea for rescue and relief operations. Naval helicopters and aircraft were on standby, the government has announced.

As per official announcement, the cyclone would hit Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Balasore, Bhadrak, Kendrapara, Ganjam, Khurda (including capital Bhubaneswar), Cuttack, Nayagarh, Jajpur, Gajapati, Dhenkanal, Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj districts, as per assessments by weather official Thursday night. Officials said the worst was likely. No cyclonic storm of such intensity had formed in India’s seas in the past four decades.

About a hundred train services in the sector have been cancelled since Wednesday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting of top officials in Delhi to review the preparedness in view of the Fani threat.

A weather report released Thursday night said Fani lay centered over the west-central Bay of Bengal at about 430km south-southwest of Puri, some 225km south-southeast of Visakhapatnam, AP, and 650km south-southwest of Digha in West Bengal. An estimated 10,000 villages and 52 towns will be affected. –IHN-NN

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