Phailin gains strength, wind speed to reach 215 kmph: IMD

Bhubaneswar: The severe cyclonic storm Phailin over east central Bay of Bengal today further intensified and is all set to make a landfall close to Gopalpur in Odisha at a wind speed of at least 205 kmph tomorrow.
"The very severe cyclonic storm, PHAILIN over east central Bay of Bengal moved west-northwestwards with a speed of 15 kmph and lay centred about 520km south-southeast of Paradip, 530 from Gopalpur and 530km east-southeast of Kalingapatnam," the IMD said in its latest bulletin.
"It would move northwestwards and cross north Andhra Pradesh and Odisha coast between Kalingapatnam and Paradip, close to Gopalpur (Odisha) by the evening of October 12," the IMD said.
IMD, which till last night expected that the wind speed would remain limited within 185 kmph during landfall on Saturday, said in its latest bulletin that Phailin would hit with increased intensity with a maximum sustained speed of 205-215 kmph.
Similarly, though IMD forecast a storm surge of 1.5 meter to 2 meter in Ganjam, Khurda, Puri and Jagatsinghpur districts in the coast yesterday, today it said the storm surge height will be around 2 meter to 2.5 meter above astronomical tide.
This would inundate low lying areas of Ganjam, Khurda, Puri and Jagatsinghpur in Odisha.
Squally winds speed reaching 45-55 kmph gusting to 65 kmph have already started along Odisha coast this morning under the influence of Phailin. "It would increase in intensity with gale wind speed reaching 205-215 kmph along and off coastal districts of south Odisha at the time of landfall," the IMD said.
Meanwhile, a worried state government held several meetings and took stock of the situation in the changed circumstances. The state government has already asked the district authorities to start evacuation of people living in low lying areas close to the sea.
"We have ordered that nobody should be allowed to stay in thatched and weak houses," Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P K Mohapatra said.
The personnel of of Odisha State Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) and fire men have already been deployed.