VIJAYAWADA: The threat of heavy rains and strong winds continues to loom large over the coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh with the deep depression in the Bay of Bengal intensifying into a cyclone on Saturday evening and moving in north and northwest directions.
Cyclone Phethai is likely to intensify further into a severe cyclonic storm before making a landfall between Machilipatnam and Kakinada on Monday afternoon. The State government which sounded high alert in all the nine coastal districts is closely monitoring the movement of Phethai to mitigate destruction by taking timely rescue and relief measures.
According to an India Meteorological Department report, as on 17:30 hours of Thursday, the cyclone lay centered in the Bay of Bengal at about 770 km south-southeast of Machilipatnam and moving at the speed of 17 kmph. Weathermen say that at the time of its landfall, gales with a surface wind speed of 80-90 kmph gusting to 100 kmph are expected to lash the coastal areas.
Under the influence of cyclone, heavy to very heavy rainfall is likely at several places in coastal districts and extreme heavy rainfall (above 20 cm) at isolated places on December 17. The sea condition is very rough and it is likely to continue till the cyclone crosses the coast. Fishermen have been advised not to venture into the sea. Officials are making efforts to see that the fishermen who ventured into the sea return to the coast safely before the cyclone strikes.