Climate Change

Cyclone Gulab: Landfall process starts

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik keeping close watch on situation; over 20,000 people evacuated from areas in Gulab’s path

By Priya Ranjan Sahu
Published: Sunday 26 September 2021
Cyclone Gulab at 8.15 pm on September 26, 2021. Photo: Earth Null School

The landfall process of Cyclone Gulab, the first post-monsoon cyclone, started at around 6 PM on the evening of September 26, 2021, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) tweeted.

The process of landfall will be completed in three hours, according to the Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) of Odisha, Pradeep Kr Jena.

According to the Bhubaneswar Meteorological Centre of IMD, the cyclonic storm formed over northwest and adjoining west-central Bay of Bengal is likely to make a landfall on the coast between Kalingapatnam in Andhra Pradesh and Gopalpur in Odisha with a maximum sustained wind speed of 75-85 km per hour gusting to 95 km per hour around midnight.

Madiguda, a village 25 kilometres from Kalingapatnam, will be the site of the landfall according to Jena. This will be in line with the IMD’s earlier prediction about the actual site of the landfall.

It forecast heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places in the state with extremely heavy rain at one or two places over the districts of Ganjam, Gajapati, Kandhamal, Rayagada, Nabarangapur, Koraput and Malkangiri due to the cyclone.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik reviewed the situation through video conference September 26 and stressed on saving lives of people as the first priority. Patnaik is on a visit to New Delhi at present.

Patnaik asked the officials in the video conference to evacuate all people in low-lying areas of the districts to be affected by Cyclone Gulab by the afternoon on a war footing.

He told the officials to ensure that there was no spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the cyclone shelters as had happened during Cyclone Yaas in May this year.

“We need to take care of all basic amenities, including drinking water, for people. More focus has to be given to the children, pregnant women and old people,” he said.

Jena said a total of 42 Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force, 24 National Disaster Response Force and 103 fire brigades had been deployed in the affected districts to deal with the situation.

Over 20,000 people have been evacuated from vulnerable areas since the morning. The SRC said there were chances of the cyclone triggering landslides and flash floods in some areas.

Officials at the district levels had been told to remain alert about such eventualities, he added. State government officials said the cyclone was likely to affect Ganjam, Gajapati and Puri districts more.

According to the IMD, thatched huts may be damaged in these districts due to the cyclone, which also may cause minor damage to power and communication lines due to breaking of branches of trees.

There would be some damage to paddy crops, banana and papaya trees, and orchards in the three districts, it said. The IMD also advised complete suspension of fishing operations, and onshore and off-shore activities in all affected districts. It also advised people to avoid movement and stay in vulnerable structures.

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