Bhubaneswar: The severe cyclonic storm 'Phailin' over the Bay of Bengal has gained strength, and intensified further, officials said Friday as it moved towards Odisha and Andhra Pradesh coast.
The storm over east central Bay of Bengal moved westwards, slightly intensified further and lay centred about 590 km south-southeast of Paradip in Jagatsinghpur district and 600 km southeast of Gopalpur in Ganjam district, S.C. Sahu, director of Bhubaneswar meteorological centre told IANS.
It would move northwestwards and cross north Andhra Pradesh and Odisha coast between Kalingapatnam and Paradip, close to Gopalpur (Odisha) by Saturday evening as a very severe cyclonic storm with a maximum sustained wind speed of 205-215 kmph, he said.
The state government said it was making adequate preparation to deal with the disaster that expects to cause large scale devastations mostly in state's coastal southern districts.
"We had a number of reviews about the impending cyclone. The government is fully prepared," Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik told reporters.
While more than 5,000 families from the low lying area of the beach town of Puri have already been moved to safer places, the authorities plan to move more than 30,000 others later in the day.
In Ganjam district, which is expected to be worst hit as the cyclone is likely to make land fall near its Gopalpur town, the authorities have started preparation to move at least 100,000 families from the low lying area to safer places like cyclone shelters, school buildings and other buildings.
"We plan to shift about 100,000 families in Ganjam district. They would be moved to safer places either by today (Friday) evening or by tomorrow (Saturday) morning," Special Relief Commissioner P.K. Mohapatra told IANS.
The weather office said in a bulletin that most of places in the state are likely to witness widespread rainfall during next two days, while some places would witness heavy to very heavy fall.
The rain would occur over coastal belt from Saturday morning. It would continue and extend to other parts of the state, it said.
Squally winds speed reaching 45-55 kmph would commence along and off the state coast from Friday. It would increase in intensity with gale wind speed reaching 205-215 kmph along and off coastal districts of south Odisha at the time of landfall.
The sea along and off the state coast will be rough to very rough from Friday morning.
Storm surge with height of around 2.0-2.5 meter would inundate low lying areas of Ganjam, Khurda, Puri and Jagatsinghpur districts during landfall.
The state government has alerted officials of the 14 cyclone districts to be prepared.