Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: With packing severity the extremely severe cyclonic storm Fani is when a mere 340 km away from Puri, the haze over landfall place and time is seemingly getting clearer now. Both top forecasters have almost predicted the same fact.

While the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) in its latest model predict landfall of 'Fani' in between Chilika and Puri (see the picture above) at early morning (5:30PM) tomorrow (Friday), the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre (JTWC) has also pointed out the same range of places as point of landfall (see the picture below) and hinted the landfall time as before 8 AM on Friday.

Though the wind speed may gust to 243km/hour during landfall, the significant fact is what would be the wind speed in big cities like Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Berhampur in the next 12 hours prior to the landfall?

As per JTWC model prediction, the maximum wind speed in cities like Bhubaneswar, Berhampur and Cuttack could be around 100 - 115 Km/hr in the next 12 hours (means staring from around midnight today). The model further hinted at a wind speed of around 50km/hr in far off places like Nayagarh, Aska, Gunpur, Gajapati and parts of Dhenkanal from midnight to landfall time.

Post landfall and when 'Fani' will be moving over the coastal districts of Jagatsinghpur and Balasore, before entering West Bengal, the wind speed in parts of Cuttack and Jajpur districts will see equally squally winds reaching up to 100 km/hour.

The impact of Fani in Odisha will remain for nearly 12 hours after landfall, when it will be moving north coastal districts enroute to West Bengal.

As per the INCOIS forecast system, the sea along Odisha coast from Gopalpur to Chandbali will remain very rough as  high tidal waves ranging from 16 - 34 feet are forecasted till midnight of Friday (May 3). The INOIS data reveals that storm surge during landfall will be observed along the coast of Gopalpur to Chandabali.

High level of sea water ingress into human habitations is feared along the coast of Gopalpur to  Chandbali as tidal storm surge is predicted at 1.5 metre over the astronomical tide, which means the storm surge prior, during and after the land fall along the Odisha coast will be around 6.5 feet.

Fearing  high sea ingress, the State Government has set a target to evacuate over 7.5 lakh people from the coastal districts to safer places. Till morning of May 2, nearly 25,000 have been evacuated, informed SRC officials. However, as of now, maximum population evacuated is from Gajapati.

Significantly, when the brunt of 'Fani' will be borne by districts like Ganjam, Khurda , Puri, Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara, as per the SRC list, this high density populated districts have seen little evacuation, when 'Fani' impact will be discernible from tonight in coastal districts of Odisha.