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Andhra Pradesh Braces For Cyclone Asani Fury; NDRF Teams On Standby In Odisha, Bengal

Parts of north coastal Andhra Pradesh were bracing to face the fury of severe cyclone Asani which barrelled towards the mainland and was expected to re-curve slowly back into the Bay of Bengal.

Andhra Pradesh Braces For Cyclone Asani Fury; NDRF Teams On Standby In Odisha, Bengal
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Parts of north coastal Andhra Pradesh, including Kakinada and Visakhapatnam, were on Tuesday bracing to face the fury of severe cyclone Asani which barrelled towards the mainland and was expected to re-curve slowly back into the Bay of Bengal.

As of 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, the cyclone lay centred 170 km south of Kakinada and 290 km south-soutwest of Visakhapatnam, packing a wind speed of 95 km per hour, gusting to 105 kmph and moving at a speed of 10 kmph, the weather office said.

According to the cyclone track forecast by the weather office, the cyclone was expected to be 29 km south-southeast off the coast of Kakinada by 6:00 a.m. Wednesday, 71 km east-northeast of Narsapur and 77 km south-southwest of Tuni in coastal Andhra Pradesh.

By Wednesday noon, the cyclone was predicted to reach 39 km south of Tuni, 39 km east of Kakinada and 109 km southwest of Visakhapatnam, a national bulletin issued by the India Meteorological Department said.

The weatherman has forecast gale wind speed of upto 85 kmph from Wednesday morning in coastal Andhra Pradesh districts of Krishna, East and West Goadavari, Visakhapatnam and Yanam of Puducherry UT.

"Storm surge of height about 0.5 m above astronomical tide is likely to inundate low lying areas of Krishna, East & West Godavari, and Vishakhapatnam districts of Andhra Pradesh, and Yanam of Puducherry UT,” the IMD weather bulletin said.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has deployed nine teams in Andhra Pradesh and kept another seven teams on standby, while one team has been deployed in Odisha and 17 have been put on standby.

As many as 12 teams have been deployed in West Bengal and five were on standby.

According to the weather office, the cyclone could damage thatched huts, cause minor damage to power and communication lines, harm paddy and other standing crops in Krishna, East & West Godavari, and Vishakhapatnam districts of Andhra Pradesh, and Yanam of Puducherry UT.

The weather office has asked fishermen not to venture into the westcentral Bay of Bengal along and off Andhra Pradesh and Odisha coasts during 10th to11th May and into Northwest Bay of Bengal during 10th to 12th May.

IMD Director General Mrutunjay Mohapatra said that cyclone Asani has already achieved maximum stage of intensification and is gradually getting weakened.

Mohapatra said that the severe cyclonic storm will weaken into a cyclonic storm on Wednesday and turn into a deep depression on Thursday. 

Bhubaneswar Regional Meteorological Centre Director H R Biswas said that the severe cyclonic storm has already started losing steam.

Light to moderate rainfall took place in Puri and Khurda, while very heavy downpour is likely to occur in some places in north coastal Andhra Pradesh and coastal Odisha from Tuesday night.

Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P K Jena said local authorities have been put on alert to face heavy rain and water-logging and asked to undertake evacuation of people from 15 blocks in four coastal districts.

The Ganjam district administration has closed all beaches including Gopalpur for visitors for two days. Sea condition is likely to remain very high on Tuesday, and become very rough on May 12 before improving thereafter.

Meanwhile, the East Coast Railway (ECoR) has put its officials on high alert in the wake of possible heavy rainfall triggered by the cyclone and asked them to ensure speedy restoration of railway traffic, a statement said.

It has opened round-the-clock disaster management cells at its headquarters in Bhubaneswar and divisional headquarters in Visakhapatnam, Khurda Road and Sambalpur.

ECoR has positioned special teams for early restoration of tracks, signaling system and electrification and also kept on standby diesel locomotives in case of power failure.

Extensive damage to railway property was witnessed during the super cyclone of 1999, Phailin (2013), Hudhud (2014), Titli (2018), Fani (2019) and Amphan (2020). 

All precautionary measures have been taken. Drains have been cleared of silt and vegetation to ensure free flow of rainwater and tree branches trimmed to prevent technical snags on overhead wires, it said.

Patrolmen have also been deployed along the tracks. Sufficient quantities of materials for track and bridge repair have been kept in reserve.

ECoR is also maintaining close coordination with the state government and the IMD. On the other hand, the state government announced that action under Disaster Management Act will be taken against fishermen venturing into deep seas disregarding the IMD warning.

"Some information being received that in spite of warning some fishermen r venturing in2 the sea. Dist Admin advised 2 do public miking in the areas & advise fisherfolk not to venture i2 sea till 12th May," the SRC tweeted.

"...if someone doesn't listen & disobey, action under DM Act be taken against them," he added.

The decision was taken after five fishing boats capsized in the sea near Chatrapur in Ganjam district during the day but all 65 fishermen swam ashore.

The incident took place after a boat carrying five fishermen capsized, and it hit four other fishing boats carrying a total of 60 people following which all the vessels sunk, an official said.

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The fresh happenings come a day after 11 fishermen from Odisha returning home after buying a new boat in Visakhapatnam were stranded in the sea when the vessel developed a snag. They were later rescued.

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