People are warned to stay indoors as trees, poles and hoardings risk being uprooted
Cyclone Hudhud hit the coast of Andhra Pradesh close to Visakhapatnam at 10.40 am today. At the time, the cyclone was raging at a wind speed of 190 km/hr.
According to initial reports, two persons in Visakhapatnam and one person in Srikakulam have been killed by falling trees. Education minister Ganta Srinivas Rao from Visakhapatnam has officially announced the death of two persons in the city.
The cyclone has caused considerable damage to houses, property and crops. Many low-lying areas in the districts of Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam, Vizianagram and East Godavari have been inundated following heavy rains. In Visakhapatnam, hundreds of trees were uprooted even three hours before the landfall. Electric poles and lines have also suffered damage and communication systems are badly hit.
As many as 44 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), army, navy and coast guard are in action. More than 400,000 people are in relief camps.
The next 36 hours
After the cyclone landed, by afternoon a strange calmness descended over Visakhapatnam as the eye of the storm crossed. But after three hours, after 4.00 pm, the impacts of cyclone will be felt, not through the ferocity of the wind but the "exceptionally heavy" rainfall that will follow. According to the press release of the IMD, the focus should be on how to manage the impacts of high rainfall in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar and certain parts of Uttar Pradesh. Some 25 districts covering catchment of four major rivers will experience very heavy rainfall; rain would continue for the next 36 hours.
The Central Water Commission is already in collaborating with Andhra and Odisha officials to chart out a probable forecast for floods. According to officials involved in disaster management in Odisha, the state has already shifted focus to flood management. "We are just focused on managing massive flooding as three rivers in Odisha's affected districts would drain more than 25 cm of rain in just a few hours," says state special relief commissioner A P Mohapatra.
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