BHUBANESWAR: The deep depression over Bay of Bengal turned into season’s first cyclonic storm on Thursday and moved slowly along the coast. Christened Roanu, the system is slated to upgrade into a severe cyclonic storm by the night and trigger rains over many parts of coastal and southern districts during next 48 hours.
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As Roanu intensified over the sea and India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued a cyclone alert for both Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, the State Government asked administration of 12 districts to remain in a state of readiness.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik spoke to Collectors through video conferencing and asked them to stock food and emergency articles to meet any exigency. Since schools are in vacation, the buildings could be used as shelter points if heavy showers require evacuation of affected population to safer places, he said.
The State Government has also alerted 10 units of Odisha Disaster Rapid action Force as well as Fire Services which could be deployed if the need arose. Government officials in the 12 districts will not be granted leave during May 20 and 21.
Meanwhile, Roanu remained practically stationary over Bay of Bengal and lay centred about 440 km south-west of Gopalpur. The system is likely to move north-eastwards along and off Andhra Pradesh and Odisha coast during next 12 hours and continue in the same direction thereafter. It is expected to cross south Bangladesh coast between Khepupara and Cox’s Bazar between May 21 night and May 22 early morning after weakening into a cyclonic storm.
As the system is predicted to pass at a safe distance from the coast on its way to Bangladesh, the IMD predicted rain and thundershower at most places over south Odisha and at many places over north districts during next 24 hours. Heavy to very heavy showers are likely at a few places with extremely heavy rainfall at one or two places, the weather office said.
While distant warning signal number 2 has been hoisted at all ports in the State, the met office said strong surface wind reaching a speed of 45 km to 50 km per hour gusting to 55 km would prevail along and off the coast on Thursday.
Fishermen have been advised against venturing into the sea. Keeping in view the situation, the Government has asked Collectors to activate communication systems and equipment to clear road blockage. Drinking water and medical support must also be readied, they were told.