Cyclone threat: Odisha steps up pre-emptive measures


Bhubaneswar: With the forecast by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) that a possible cyclonic storm over Bay of Bengal is most likely to have landfall on Odisha coast, the state government has geared up its machinery to tackle the calamity.

Talking to OTV today, Dr Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, head, Cyclone Warning, IMD, said the deep depression which lay centred over east-central Bay of Bengal yesterday, has moved northwards with a speed of 8 kmph and lay centred over east-central Bay of Bengal, about 520 km north-north-east of Port Blair, 310 km west-south of Yangon and 930 km off Gopalpur coast at 8.30 AM today. The system is most likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm in the next 24 hours and move northwards for some time and then recurve initially towards north-north-west and then towards north-west. It is very likely to reach north-west Bay of Bengal in the morning on October 27.

“After reaching north-west Bay of Bengal, the deep depression will intensify into a cyclonic storm and move with a wind speed of 80-90 kmph. Under its influence, the sea condition would be very rough as the wind speed will be around 45-55 kmph with maximum speed up to 65 kmph. Considering the situation, fishermen are advised not to venture into the sea along and off the Odisha and West Bengal coast from October 27 onwards,” Mohapatra said.

Asked whether IMD has given any name to the possible cyclonic storm, he said the Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre which generally names any deep depression originating either over Bay of Bengal or Arabian Sea only when it intensifies into a cyclonic storm. “Since no cyclonic storm has formed till date, no name has been given,” he pointed out.

Director, Meteorological Centre, Dr Sarat Chandra Mohapatra said the deep depression presently lies at a distance of 930 km in the east-south-east off the Odisha coast. The deep depression is now moving towards north and we expect that it will intensify into a cyclonic storm either in the late night or tomorrow morning and initially move towards north. There is a possibility that it will recurve and move towards north-north-west and later change its direction and reach north-west Bay of Bengal in the morning on October 27.

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“There is a possibility in change of weather conditions in coastal Odisha if the cyclonic storm reaches north-west Bay of Bengal,” Sahu added.

He, however, said right now it cannot be predicted about the course of the cyclonic storm as under the present system, the deep depression has a complicated track. “We will be able to forecast the exact movement of the cyclonic storm only after its recurve,” he noted.

Taking stock of the possibility of a cyclonic storm, the Odisha government has geared up its machinery to stay on alert in the coastal pockets.

Talking to media persons, Special Relief Commissioner Pradipta Mohapatra said collectors of coastal districts have been asked to stay on high alert. Apart from this, collectors of other districts have also been asked to step of preventive measures and activate district control rooms.

“Besides, the collectors have been asked to requisition ODRAF team immediately if the situation so warrants. They have also been asked to keep the Fire Service unit in readiness to meet any eventuality during cyclone and rains,” he added.

The SRC also said the farmers have been advised to shift their harvested paddy to a safe place and keep it bundled under cover to avoid any loss or damage due to cyclone or rain.

“Besides, the Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare department has been asked to take necessary steps to protect paddy in mandies against rain,” he pointed out.

Considering the situation, Health minister Pradip Amat today presided over a high-level review meeting in the afternoon.

Briefing media persons after the meeting, the minister said the Chief District Medical Officers (CDMOs) have been directed to open control room and keep ambulance vans in readiness. Besides, they have been asked to keep adequate stock of medicines.

“I have also asked the CDMOs not to grant leave to any Health staff and ask them to remain on duty,” he added.

Taking stock of the situation, chief minister Naveen Patnaik has called an emergency meeting tomorrow to review the preparedness to ward off any possible eventuality.

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