Andhra coast braces for cyclone, high alert sounded

Visakhapatnam: Andhra Pradesh on Sunday sounded a high alert in the coastal region as a cyclonic storm in the Bay of Bengal was heading towards it and was likely to cross the region between Kakinada and Visakhapatnam on Monday.

Real Time Governance Society (RTGS) of the state government alerted all nine coastal districts.

The State Disaster Response Force (SRDF) and National Disaster Response Force were kept on standby.

Parts of the coastal region, especially Krishna district, on Sunday started experiencing rains and strong winds. The sea became rough.

Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu directed the Collectors of coastal districts to take all precaution to prevent loss of lives.

According to Visakhapatnam Cyclone Warning Centre, ‘Phethai’ will intensify further into a severe cyclonic storm over the next few hours and weaken slightly before making a landfall on Monday afternoon.

It lay centred about 560 km south-southeast of Machilipatnam and 600 km south-southeast of Kakinada on Sunday morning.

The Met office has forecast rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy falls at isolated places over coastal Andhra Pradesh and Yanam district of Puducherry on Sunday and Monday.

Squally wind speed reaching 45-55 kmph is likely along and off Andhra Pradesh. The gale speed may reach 100 kmph on Monday.

The Cyclone Warning Centre has warned storm surge of up to one metre could inundate the low lying areas of Visakhapatnam, East Godavari, West Godavari, Krishna and Guntur districts of coastal Andhra Pradesh and Yanam district of Puducherry at the time of landfall.

Fishermen were advised not to venture into the sea.