BHUBANESWAR: Even as the deep depression turned into cyclonic storm ‘Hud Hud’ over the Bay of Bengal on Wednesday, driving Odisha into a frenzy, weather models indicated that the tropical cyclone could head towards north Andhra Pradesh, leaving large parts of the State mostly unaffected.
As the storm advanced slowly towards Bay of Bengal from Andaman Sea on the day, its projected course showed that it is likely to make landfall along the line Latitude 17.9 degree North-Longitude 83.2 degree East and Latitude 18.5 degree North-Longitude 82.2 degree East, as predicted by the India Meteorological Department (IMD). The point of landfall was shown to be north of Visakhapatnam, close to Dharmavaram, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre (JTWC).
By October 12 noon, when ‘Hud Hud’ is expected to hit the land, the projections said it would have turned into a very severe cyclonic storm with associated surface wind in the range of 130-140 km per hour, gusting up to 155 km per hour, the IMD said.
The JTWC, though, upgraded the wind speed later in the evening putting it at 171 kmph on October 12 midnight gusting up to 207 kmph while losing a bit of speed the next morning. However, this tropical storm, coming exactly a year after Phailin, is unlikely to be as strong, IMD Director General L S Rathore said.
Phailin had brought in surface wind at the speed of 205 km per hour and hit the land near Gopalpur.
The IMD is keeping a close watch on the system and stated that the impact zone would be north Andhra Pradesh and southern Odisha, but realistically, parts of Ganjam may get a feel of the storm. However, the affected zone, as Rathore told mediapersons in New Delhi on Wednesday, would be Ganjam, Gajapati, Puri and Khurda districts.
Weather analysts felt that ‘Hud Hud’ may actually dissipate quickly after hitting the land __ if it makes landfall near Visakhapatnam as projected __ since the region is hilly in nature.
“Hilly regions will reduce the impact, but induce heavy showers,” said a source. The JTWC also showed in its projection that the storm would wither away within a day, a theory echoed by IMD, whose prediction stated that by October 13, ‘Hud Hud’ would have weakened into a cyclonic storm with surface wind speed dropping to 70 kmph to 80 kmph, occasionally gusting to 90 kmph.
However, there was no let-up in the frenzied reaction that was triggered by apprehensions that the storm will hit Odisha and panic buying continued. This prompted the Odisha Government to appeal to the people not to panic.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik convened a high-level meeting to take stock of the preparedness. Disaster rapid action forces of the State as well as the Centre were put on alert while personnel, equipment and machinery were kept in readiness for restoration of road communication, power and telecom network in the event of the storm causing any damage. The Government said it would strive for a “zero casualty” disaster management.
Earlier in the day, the system crossed Andaman and Nicobar Islands near Long Island and is likely to move west-northwestwards intensifying into a severe cyclonic storm during the next 24 hours and a very severe cyclonic storm during the subsequent 36 hours.
Under its impact, rain and thundershower are expected at one or two places over Odisha during the next 24 hours while Distant Warning Signal Number 2 has been hoisted at Paradip and Gopalpur ports.