With a low pressure area created over the Tenasserim Coast and adjoining Andaman Sea, threatening to precipitate into a cyclonic storm and strike the east coast between Odisha and Andhra, the Odisha government on Tuesday put the collectors of 16 districts on alert.
“The low pressure has already taken the shape of a depression and if it further precipitates into a cyclone, then it would be named Hudhud as per the nomenclature coding practice of tropical cyclones,” said a Met department official.
Hudhud is expected to have a landfall on October 12, exactly one year after the very severe cyclonic storm (VSCS), Phailin, struck the Odisha coast last year.
Phailin also took its menacing cyclonic form from a low pressure area created at Tenasserim coast near Thailand.
Phailin had crossed Odisha and the adjoining north Andhra coast near Gopalpur with a sustained maximum surface wind speed of 200-210 kilometres per hour.
The probable severity of Hudhud is still not known. “Maybe we will be able to predict the wind speed, time and location of landfall of the cyclone in the next 24 to 48 hours, after it moves to within 250 km of the coastline,” said the met department official.
However, the state government is not leaving anything to chances. “The government is prepared for the possible cyclonic storm,” said chief minister Naveen Patnaik.
“Collectors of 16 districts in coastal and south Odisha have been asked to remain alert, while collectors of 14 other districts have been asked to remain watchful,” said Pravat Ranjan Mohapatra, deputy relief commissioner.
The districts put on alert are Ganjam, Balasore, Kendrapara, Bhadrak, Jagatsinghpur, Puri, Mayurbhanj, Jajpur, Cuttack, Khordha, Nayagarh, Gajapati, Dhenkanal, Keonjhar, Malkangiri and Koraput. Apart from Malkangiri and Koraput, all other districts were affected by Phailin.
The collectors have been asked to cancel the leaves of employees and ensure that they remain present at their places of posting. Besides, Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force and fire service units have been told to be ready for their deployment on short notice, he added.
The district administrations have directed to stock food material at strategic locations.
The latest bulletin issued by local Meteorological Centre read, “Yesterday’s (Monday) low pressure area over Tenasserim coast and adjoining Andaman Sea has concentrated into a depression and lay centred at 0830 hours IST (Indian Standard Time) on Tuesday over north Andaman sea and neighbourhood about 1,380 km southeast of Gopalpur.”
It would move in a west-northwesterly direction and intensify into a deep depression within 24 hours and further intensify into a cyclonic storm thereafter, the Meteorological Centre predicted. Paradip port in Jagatsingpur district and Gopalpur port in Ganjam district have been asked by the met department to hoist the Distant Cautionary Signal Number One.
“The storm is likely to cross Long Island in Andaman tomorrow and move towards North Andhra Pradesh and Odisha,” said Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, director of the cyclone warning division, India Meteorological Department.