Cyclone Fani nears Odisha, poll code lifted

The Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm ‘FANI’ (pronounced as ‘FONI’) over Westcentral   and adjoining Southwest Bay of Bengal, moved northwestwards with a speed of about 10 kmph in last six hours and lay centred at 5.30 AM today, over Westcentral and adjoining Southwest Bay of Bengal near latitude 13.9°N and longitude 84.0°E, about 680 km south-southwest of Puri (Odisha) and 430 km south-southeast of Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh).

It is very likely to move northwestwards during next 12 hours  and thereafter recurve north-northeastwards and cross Odisha Coast between Gopalpur and Chandbali, to the south of Puri around 3rd May afternoon with maximum sustained wind of speed 175-185 kmph gusting to 205 kmph.

Authorities in Odisha, which will suffer the maximum impact of Cyclone Fani, have asked tourists in Puri to leave the temple town as they requested for additional teams and helicopters to assist them in evacuating people who will be affected. It is likely to hit the Odisha coast by Friday afternoon and also affect West Bengal and the Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts of Andhra Pradesh.

It has predicted that the cyclone will first hit Puri district after which it will move northwards towards Khurda, Jagatsinghpur, Cuttack, Kendrapada, Jajpur, Bhadrak, Balasore and Mayurbhanj. The Odisha government has requested the Centre to provide two helicopters and additional National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) teams for the evacuation of affected people with Cyclone Fani likely to hit the state’s coast on May 3.

“We have requested the cabinet secretary to position two helicopters for air-dropping of relief material. Besides, we have asked for additional NDRF teams to carry out the rescue operation,” the state’s chief secretary AP Padhi said. Padhi said the evacuation process will begin from Thursday morning and that people from the low-lying areas will be taken to nearby cyclone shelters, schools and other safe places. As many as 879 cyclone shelters are kept ready, 20 unit of the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) and 335 fire services units are also on standby.

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