BHUBANESWAR : The very severe cyclonic storm Yaas which battered two north coastal districts - Bhadrak and Balasore - on Wednesday triggered heavy rainfall in Similipal raising fear of flash flood in the river catchments of the 2,750 square km tiger reserve.
Parts of the forests in Bhanjabasa, Jashipur reported over 300 mm rainfall in 10 hours on the day, while three more places recorded around 250 mm precipitation. Bhanjabasa in Similipal South recorded 324 mm rainfall between 6 am and 4 pm, while Barehipani and Nawana North forests within the core area of the tiger reserve reported 263 mm and 244.4 mm rainfall in this period.
Ramatirtha in Similipal North reported 241 mm rainfall, while places like Thakurmunda, Kendumundi, Podadiha, Kabatghai also recorded rainfall of around 140 to 170 mm. The system has led to a sudden rise in water level in 11 river systems of the tiger reserve putting forest officials on high alert.
Special Relief Commissioner PK Jena said they are keeping an eye on water level of Budhabalanga river which is increasing at an alarming rate due to incessant rain triggered by the cyclonic system in Similipal. Apart from Budhabalanga, water level in other river catchments including Khairi Bhandan, Khadkei, Khairi, Polpala, East Deo and West Deo also rose.
“Rainfall may cross 400 mm in some of these places as the impact of the cyclone will last for a few more hours,” said Similipal South Wildlife Division Deputy Director JD Pati. Officials and staff are on alert to deal with possible flash flood like situation.
STR Deputy Director and Similipal North DFO Sai Kiran informed that the cyclone has led to large scale uprooting of trees. “Our teams will rush to the field as soon as the storm crosses the area to assess the impact and carry out restoration, if required,” he said.