The deep depression over the north Andaman Sea on Wednesday intensified into cyclonic storm Hud Hud. The latter is likely to make landfall between Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) and Gopalpur (Odisha) on the eastern coast on Sunday (October 12) noon.
It has moved closer to the coast, 1,150 kilometres (km) southeast of Gopalpur. The storm, which has crossed the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, will upgrade to a severe cyclonic one by Thursday, with a speed of up to 110 km an hour.
“Our analysis says the severe cyclonic storm will intensify further as a very severe cyclonic storm, with speed of up to 155 km an hour,” said L S Rathore, director-general, India Meteorological Department.
Though Hud Hud, like Phailin, will take the shape of a severe cyclonic storm at the time of landfall, its impact will be less because of less wind speed compared to the other that had hit the Odisha coast last October at 210 km an hour.
Hud Hud is likely to affect Ganjam, Gajapati, Khurda and Puri districts in Odisha and Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam districts in Andhra Pradesh.
“I have just reviewed the situation, all preparations have been made like they were for cyclone Phailin. All the departments have made contingency plans,” Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said here after a review meeting.
He advised people not to panic.
The state government will request the Election Commission of India to spare the officers engaged in election duty for Kandhamal Lok Sabha seat by-election to make them available for disaster preparedness and mitigation exercise.
The government has directed all departments concerned to make all preparations to face the likely storm-induced flood in Bansdhara, Nagabali and Rusikulya rivers. About 340 cyclone shelters across the state have been kept ready to accommodate people evacuated from vulnerable areas.
The distant cautionary signal number one (DC-I) sounded for Paradip and Gopalpur Ports has been upgraded to distant warning signal number TWO (DW-II). The Met department has asked fishermen in deep sea to return to coast immediately.
To deal with any eventuality, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has kept its battalions in West Bengal and Bihar ready, in addition to two battalions in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. “We are fully prepared for the cyclone. Our control room will start operations from Thursday. In case of emergency, the battalions from Bihar and West Bengal can be airlifted to affected areas,” said O P Singh, director general, NDRF. “As required by the state government, the teams will be pre-positioned and will assist the government in evacuating the people,” he added.