A deep depression over the Bay of Bengal has intensified into a cyclonic storm, Titli, and is moving towards the Odisha-Andhra Pradesh coast, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Tuesday while issuing a red alert for Odisha. The IMD has forecast “heavy to very heavy rainfall” at several places and “extremely heavy rainfall” at isolated areas accompanied by wind speeds reaching 100 kmph.
“Titli is very likely to intensify further into a severe cyclonic storm during the next 24 hours. It is likely to move northwestwards from tonight and cross Odisha and adjoining north Andhra Pradesh coasts between Gopalpur and Kalingapatnam around Thursday,” PTI quoted director of the Meteorological Centre in Bhubaneswar, H R Biswas, as saying.
Titli is presently centred at about 530 km southeast of Gopalpur in Odisha and 480 km east-southeast of Kalingapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. The IMD bulletin said while wind speeds would reach 100 kmph along south Odisha coast, it would remain within 75 kmph in the north.
“The wind speed will gradually increase to 80-90 kmph and gusting to 100 kmph from Wednesday evening along and off south Odisha coast and 55-65 kmph gusting to 75 kmph along and off north Odisha coast,” it said. Biswas said after crossing Odisha and Andhra coasts, the cyclone system would re-curve northeastwards and move towards Gangetic West Bengal and weaken gradually.
In a dampener to the festive spirit ahead of Durga Puja, the IMD has also predicted that south and coastal regions of West Bengal was likely to experience heavy to very heavy rain along with the windy weather in the next five days. Rainfall is predicted in North and South 24-Parganas, Howrah, Burdwan, East and West Midnapore, Nadia and Murshidabad.
Fishermen along the Odisha coast and central and north Bay of Bengal have been advised not to venture into sea till Friday. Heavy to heavy rainfall has been predicted in south coastal Odisha’s Gajapati, Ganjam, Puri and Jagatsinghpur districts from Wednesday. Kendrapara, Khurda, Nayagarh, Cuttack, Jajpur, Bhadrak and Balasore are expected to receive very heavy rainfall on Wednesday and Thursday, the IMD said.
The Odisha government has also issued a storm surge warning, stating that low-lying areas of Ganjam, Khurda and Puri districts of Odisha and Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh may be inundated during the time of Titli’s landfall. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has issued an alert to all coastal districts and collectors have been asked to make necessary arrangements to shift people living in low-lying areas
Deputy Special Relief Commissioner P K Mohapatra said around 300 motor boats have been arranged to assist in the rescue operation and all 879 cyclone and flood shelters have been kept on standby.