Monster Cyclone rips apart Odisha coast
Published: 13th October 2013 07:29 AM |
As anticipated, cyclone Phailin kissed south of the Gopalpur coast in Odisha around 9 pm on Saturday with windspeeds reaching up to 200-210 kmph. The gust is expected to touch 235 to 240 kmph and the next 6-8 hours will be critical before the cyclone changes course. Heavy to very heavy rainfall has been reported from several parts of the State.
Special relief commissioner Pradipta Mohapatra confirmed Phailin’s landfall near Gopalpur and its windspeed of 200 kmph. The coastal parts of Ganjam were bearing the brunt of the storm.
Tidal waves surged up to 3.5 metres and inundated several low-lying areas along the coast. The cyclone is likely to remain “very severe” for up to six hours and seawater may enter 300 to 600 meters inland.
At least six people were feared killed due to the cyclone in the State, including one person in Bhubaneswar and two in Ganjam district, who were trapped under falling trees.
The State claimed to have evacuated at least 7.26 lakh people from the coastal districts by Saturday evening.
The cyclone is expected to batter the State for the next 24 hours and heavy rainfall has been forecast for the next 48 hours.
Rains coupled with winds at high speed pounded the Gopalpur area since morning and the entire region was engulfed in darkness with power supply to cities, including Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, cut off.
Life in Bhubaneswar came to a complete standstill. It shut down completely in anticipation of a repeat of the 1999 super cyclone. The city went powerless for most of the day, while it was enveloped in darkness through the night with power supply unlikely to be restored. All the Durga pandals were virtually closed and roads were deserted. Reports of damage to houses were slowly trickling in, but the situation in Gopalpur remained unclear.
Earlier, long distance besides passenger trains were cancelled and flight services disrupted. At least 700 passengers, stranded at the Puri railway station, were accommodated at the Railway Kalyan Mandap and tourists, who checked into hotels in Puri, were asked to move to the top floors.
It is said that 18 fishermen from Tamil Nadu, who were trapped in the sea near Paradip, have been rescued.