The process of landfall of the very severe cyclone Titli started early Thursday with surface wind reaching speeds of 126 kmph at Gopalpur in Odisha’s Ganjam district, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
“The process of landfall has started and it will completely cross the Odisha coast in one or two hours. The system will pass close to Gopalpur,” said H R Biswas, Director of Meteorological Centre, Bhubaneswar. The IMD said, “The forward sector of the eye of the storm has been entering into the land mass.”
While Gopalpur in Odisha reported surface winds at 126 kmph, Kalingapatanam in Andhra Pradesh recorded wind speed of 56 kmph.
As the landfall process started, at least five districts like Ganjam, Gajapati, Puri, Khurda and Jagatsinghpur are receiving good amount of rainfall coupled with high speed winds under the impact of Titli.
Biswas said the very severe cyclonic storm (VSCS), ‘Titli’, is being monitored by the coastal Doppler Weather Radars at Visakhapatnam, Gopalpur and Paradip.
The latest observations indicate that ‘Titli’, over west-central Bay of Bengal moved north-northwestwards with a speed of about 19 kmph during the past six hours.
After the landfall, the system is very likely to re-curve gradually northeastwards, move towards Gangetic West Bengal across Odisha and weaken gradually.
Reports of trees, electric poles getting uprooted and damages to kuchha houses were reported, officials said, adding that road communication in some places, including Gopalpur and Berhampur, was snapped.
Meanwhile, the Odisha government has geared up its machinery to tackle the situation. The state government has already evacuated over 3 lakh people living in low lying areas and kuchha houses ahead of the landfall in five coastal districts.
Earlier on Wednesday, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had said around three lakh people were evacuated from the coastal areas of the state in view the storm.
After holding the second review meeting at the office of the Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) during the day, he had said, “If required, more people will be evacuated to safer places.”
Stressing on the government’s ‘zero casualty’ disaster management policy, Patnaik had said, “The state government has been closely monitoring the situation. The district collectors are already on high alert.”
Evacuation was carried out in the five coastal districts of Ganjam, Puri, Khura, Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara.
According to official sources, 9,83,642 people were evacuated when Cyclone Phailin hit the state in 2013 and 2,55,042 people were shifted to multi-purpose shelters during Cyclone Hudhud in 2014. The state was also hit by Cyclone Daye in September, but its intensity was low.
The review meeting, attended by Chief Secretary A P Padhi, SRC B P Sethi and others, also took stock of the state’s preparedness for the possible floods due to heavy to very heavy rainfall under the influence of the cyclone.
Patnaik directed the authorities to closely monitor the possibility of flood situation also.
Water resources secretary P K Jena had said though there has been no such flood situation right now, the government has been keeping an eye on rainfall in Bansadhara and Rushikulya river basins in southern parts of the where the cyclone is likely to have more impact.