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Depression in Bay of Bengal intensifies into cyclone
Hyderabad, May 19 (IANS/AGENCIES):
Published on 20 May. 2010 12:06 AM IST
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The depression in the Bay of Bengal has intensified into a cyclonic storm, and lies centred 400 km east of Chennai on Tuesday evening.
According to a bulletin issued by the India Meteorological Department, the system is likely to intensify further and cross the Andhra Pradesh coast, between Ongole and Visakhapatnam, by the early hours of Thursday. The Department has warned that under the influence of the system, north coastal Tamil Nadu and coastal Andhra Pradesh will experience very adverse weather conditions over the next two days.
Along and off the Andhra Pradesh coast, gales with speed reaching up to 65-75 kmph are likely to begin on Tuesday night, and the speed will steadily increase to 115-125 kmph at the time of landfall.
The sea condition will be “very high” to “phenomenal,” and extremely heavy rainfall is possible in some areas during the next two days. On the other hand, along the north coastal Tamil Nadu squally winds reaching 50-60 kmph are likely during the next 24 hours, and the sea is likely to be “very rough.” There is a possibility of extremely heavy rainfall in a few areas.
Heavy rains with strong gales lashed coastal Andhra region as authorities began evacuation of people from low-lying areas with cyclonic storm Laila intensifying further and heading towards the sea shore.
A high alert has been sounded in all nine coastal districts while rescue teams from National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have reached the areas likely to face the fury of the cyclonic storm. The storm christened Laila is likely to cross the Andhra coast Thursday morning between Visakhapatnam and Ongole, said Visakhapatnam Cyclone Warning Centre.
Strong gales with speed of 65 to 70 km per hour have been lashing the region since Tuesday night, uprooting trees and damaging electricity and communication towers in some districts, officials said.
Districts of Vijayanagaram, Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam, East Godavari, West Godavari, Krishna and Guntur are receiving heavy rains since Wednesday morning. Some places received five to 10 cm rainfall.
Nellore, Prakasam, and some parts of Rayalaseema and Telangana regions are also experiencing rains in the build-up to the cyclone in the Bay of Bengal.
At least 10 people were killed in rain-related incidents like lightning strikes and wall collapses since Tuesday night.
Four farmers were also reported missing.
Authorities began evacuating people from low-lying areas in all nine districts as a precautionary measure as the weather office forecast heavy to very heavy rains during the next 48 hours. The rainfall is expected to be as much as 25 cm while the gale-speed is likely to be 115-125 kmph at the time of the landfall.
“Storm surge of 1.5 to 2 metres above the astronomical tide is likely to inundate the coastal areas of Guntur, Krishna and West and East Godavari districts of Andhra Pradesh at the time of landfall,” warned the India Meteorological Department (IMD) in its bulletin.
Over 10,000 people have already been evacuated in Visakhapatnam, West Godavari and Krishna districts. People living near the sea shore and the low-lying areas have been asked to move to safe places by Wednesday night.
In Krishna district alone, authorities have opened 120 relief camps. In West Godavari district, 100 buses of state-owned Road Transport Corporation have been kept ready for evacuation of people.
After a review of the situation here, Chief Minister K. Rosaiah asked his cabinet colleagues to rush to the coastal districts to oversee relief and rehabilitation.
“The impact of the cyclone on coastal Andhra is likely to be severe and there is an urgent need for everybody to be on high alert,” said Marri Shashidhar Reddy, member, National Disaster Management Authority.
The chief minister has asked district collectors to use helicopters, if necessary, for rescue and relief operations.
Seventh warning signal was hoisted at Visakhapatnam, Kakinada, Machilipatnam, Bhimunipatnam, Kalingapatnam, Nizampatnam and Vodarevu ports while fifth signal was raised at Krishnapatnam port.

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