Cyclone Titli intensifies into severe cyclonic storm

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 11 Oct 2018 08:29:12



The Odisha Government began evacuation of people in five coastal districts

The storm is likely to move northwestwards and cross Odisha and adjoining north Andhra Pradesh coast


THE Odisha Government on Wednesday began evacuation of approximately two lakh people in five coastal districts of the State, as cyclone Titli over the Bay of Bengal intensified into a “very severe cyclonic storm” and inched towards the Odisha-Andhra Pradesh coast. People living in the low-lying areas and hutments along the coast line are being shifted to safer places, official sources said.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said rainfall would be accompanied by gale wind speed reaching 140 to 150 kmph and gusting to 165 kmph along and off Odisha and north Andhra Pradesh coasts. In view of the tidal surge forecast by the IMD due to the very severe cyclonic storm, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik asked the collectors of Ganjam, Puri, Khurda, Kendrapara and Jagtsinghpur districts to start immediate evacuation of people in the low-lying areas in the coastal belt, the sources said.

He also asked the authorities to ensure “zero casualty” and keep the cyclone shelters ready for housing the people.
Patnaik also ordered closure of all schools, colleges and anganwadi centres on Thursday and Friday in view of IMD’s forecast of heavy to very heavy rainfall across the State.
The college student union elections, earlier scheduled to be held on Thursday, have been cancelled. “By Wednesday afternoon, as many as 50,000 people, mostly in Ganjam and Puri districts, have been evacuated,” an official at the Special Relief Commissioners (SRC) said, adding the evacuation process was on full swing in 17 blocks of Ganjam district.

Chief secretary A P Padhi said immediate evacuation was launched in view of the IMD forecast of a tidal surge of about 1 metre during landfall of very severe cyclone Titli.
“Right now, we cannot say the exact number of people to be shifted, but all those living in vulnerable areas are being taken to safer places. We have 836 shelters ready to house the people,” deputy SRC Pravat Kumar Mohapatra told PTI.
Official sources said 9,83,642 people were evacuated when cyclone Philin hit the State in 2013 and 2,55,042 people were shifted to multi-purpose shelter centres during Cyclone Hudhud in 2014. The state was also hit by Cyclone Daye last month, but its intensity was low.

The chief secretary said the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) personnel have been positioned in vulnerable districts. “We have not yet sought help of Army. If required we may go for it,” Padhi said.
An East Coast Railway (ECoR) official said train services will remain suspended between Khurda Road and Vizianagram from both directions after 10 pm on Wednesday till further notice.

At least six trains were cancelled, three were short terminated and around ten trains passing through ECoR were diverted, he said. The IMD said cyclone Titli has moved at a speed of about 18 kmph in the last six hours over west-central Bay of Bengal and lay centred at about 230 km south-southeast of Gopalpur in Odisha.

The storm is likely to move north-northwestwards and cross Odisha and adjoining north Andhra Pradesh coast between Gopalpur and Kalingapatnam around 5.30 am on Thursday morning, it said. Thereafter, the cyclone is likely to re-curve north-eastward, move towards West Bengal across Odisha and weaken gradually, H R Biswas, director of the meteorological centre in Bhubaneswar, said. Four fishermen missing in Odisha: FOUR fishermen from Odisha’s Kendrapara district who had ventured into the Bay of Bengal three days ago are missing, police said on Wednesday.

The sea is unsteady due to the cyclonic weather. Cyclone Titli is expected to make its landfall on Thursday morning.
The fishermen, who are from Mahakalpada tehsil and had gone to the sea in a mechanised vessel on Sunday, the police said. They had last contacted their family members on Monday and had said that they were returning because of the cyclone warning, the police said. Rescue operation is yet to be undertaken due to the cyclonic weather, the police added.