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A week after Helen,Andhra braces for ‘very severe cyclonic storm’ Lehar

Moderate rainfall at many places would commence from Nov 27 afternoon.

Written by PTI | Hyderabad |
November 26, 2013 12:42:28 pm

The Andhra Pradesh government is gearing up to face the “very severe cyclonic storm” Lehar,expected to be almost same in the intensity as cyclone Phailin which is likely to cross the state between Machillipatnam and Kalingapatnam near Kakinada around Thursday noon.

As per the IMD bulletin issued at 1730 hours on Monday,Lehar is over the southeast Bay of Bengal and remained practically stationary during the past three hours and lay centred at 1430 hours today over the southeast Bay of Bengal,about 1200 km east-southeast of Machillipatnam on the Andhra coast.

“The system would intensify further gradually into a very severe cyclonic storm and would move west-northwestwards and cross Andhra Pradesh coast between Machillipatnam and Kalingapatnam near Kakinada around November 28 noon,” state Disaster Management Commissioner C Parthasarathi told reporters here tonight.

Under the influence of the system,moderate rainfall at many places would commence from November 27 afternoon over north coastal Andhra Pradesh and south coastal Odisha.

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The intensity of Lehar would gradually increase with rainfall at most places and heavy-to-very heavy falls being witnessed at a few places. Isolated extremely heavy falls over north coastal Andhra Pradesh on November 28 are also expected.

“MeT officials tell us that this cyclone would approximately have the same intensity of ‘Phailin’ that hit Odisha and north coastal districts (of AP),” he said.

Squally winds speed reaching 45-55kmph,gusting to 65kmph,would commence along and off Andhra Pradesh from Wednesday evening. It would increase in intensity with gale wind speed reaching 170-180kmph gusting to 200kmph along and off coastal districts of north coastal Andhra Pradesh and adjoining south coastal Andhra Pradesh at the time of landfall,the bulletin said.

Lehar is expected to cause extensive damage to thatched houses,disrupt power and communication lines and also rail and road traffic. Widespread damage is also feared for agriculture crops.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Secretary P K Mohanty held a video conference with senior officials and also district Collectors and police officers to take stock of the preparedness for Lehar.

In its bid to preparedness,the state government has set up a round-the-clock control room at the Secretariat here and requisitioned additional teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).

Besides,a total of 30 teams of the NDRF have been placed at important places for quick rescue and relief operations and a requisition has been sent to the Centre for providing four helicopters to be stationed at Visakhapatnam,which will be moved wherever necessary.

The Coast Guard,Marine Police and also the district police officials have been informed to be on alert and assist the district administration,Parthasarathi said.

Specialised teams of emergency and fire services departments,trained in disaster management,are being sent to districts for rescue and relief operations and to assist the administration.

The district Collectors have been told to evacuate people living in low-lying areas to safer places as and when necessary and open control rooms for assisting people.

Fishermen have been told to stay away from sea. Parthasarathi said,the collectors have been asked to direct all concerned departments to be ready for taking up cyclone relief measures and also to stock essential items like food,medicines and also take care of provision of drinking water.

The Army and Railway authorities have been alerted about the IMD warning about the cyclone,he said.

Meanwhile,Chief Minister N Kirankumar Reddy reviewed the preparedness with officials.

He directed the officials to be on a high alert and take all precautionary measures to face any eventuality,official sources said.

The Chief Minister has also decided to postpone his scheduled visit on Tuesday to the areas hit by cyclone Helen last week,the sources added.

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