Cyclone Phethai to make landfall in AP today; alert sounded
A month after Cyclone Gaja hit the eastern coast wreaking havoc, Andhra Pradesh is bracing for yet another severe cyclonic storm - Cyclone Phethai. Cyclone Phethai is expected to make landfall on the Andhra Pradesh coast some time around Monday afternoon, and authorities have taken a slew of precautionary measures to avoid widespread damage to human life and property. Here's more.
2018 has seen a particularly active cyclone season
"In the current season itself, the eastern coast has witnessed three cyclonic storms— cyclone Daye, Titli, and Gaja. Now, one is forecast. It is the first time since 1985 when seven cyclones have hit the Indian coast in a year," said an IMD scientist.
Cyclone Phethai is lumbering towards Andhra Pradesh
Cyclone Phethai was perched over southwest and adjoining west-central Bay of Bengal on Sunday afternoon, and it had been predicted that Phethai would intensify into a severe cyclonic storm late on Sunday. Distance-wise, Phethai was 480 km southeast of Machilipatnam and 510 km south-southeast of Kakinada on Sunday afternoon, and was moving towards coastal Andhra Pradesh.
Heavy rainfall expected at most places; extreme rainfall at some
Although Phethai is expected to weaken slightly as it makes landfall, heavy rainfall is expected across coastal Andhra Pradesh. Heavy rainfall is expected in most places, very heavy rainfall is expected in a few places, while extremely heavy rainfall has been predicted for a few isolated pockets. Six districts - Guntur, Krishna, West Godavari, East Godavari, Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam - are on high alert.
Schools have been closed; some trains have been cancelled
Additionally, the government has allowed the closure of all schools for two days, starting Monday. Meanwhile, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has called for a complete suspension of fishing activities. Several trains have been cancelled, while many flights are also expected to be disrupted owing to cyclonic winds of 70-90kmph, gusting at 100kmph.
READ: Complete list of trains that have been cancelled
Crops being lifted out; NDRF might be deployed
Amid fears of crop damage among paddy growers, harvested paddy is also being lifted out from districts expected to be heavily affected by Cyclone Phethai. Meanwhile, Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu has called for the deployment of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), and state police and fire services personnel will also be pressed into service for emergency relief when required.