Natural Disasters

Cyclonic disturbance threatens crops, population in Odisha

Hilly areas are likely to face landslides and damage to kutcha roads and houses

By Himanshu Nitnaware
Published: Friday 19 August 2022

Mahanadi flood, following the heavy and incessant rains in the coastal regions of Odisha August 17, has displaced 0.46 million people from 12 districts, the government officials announced.

As the people are coping with the flood, Odisha is bracing for yet another heavy rainfall due to the low pressure over the Bay of Bengal.

Heavy rainfall is expected in the region due to a cyclonic disturbance developed over northeast and neighbouring areas of east-central Bay of Bengal, Myanmar and Bangladesh, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) stated.

Also read: How lack of coordination between Odisha and Chhattisgarh led to floods

“A deep depression has formed over the Bay of Bengal that may lead to heavy to extremely heavy rainfall. The wind speed is estimated to range between 55-65 kilometre per hour,” said Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, director-general at IMD, Delhi.

The weather system is likely to cross the coastal regions August 19, 2022, between 4.30 pm and 8.30 pm, said Mohapatra.

Keonjhar and Mayubhanj districts are expected to receive extremely heavy rainfall leading to flash floods, water logging in low-lying areas and inundation of agricultural land, warned IMD in its weather forecast.

Hilly areas are likely to face landslides and damage to kutcha roads and houses. The heavy rains are expected to swell the river banks significantly.

Heavy to very heavy rainfall conditions are likely to prevail over Kendrapara, Cuttack, Angul, Sundargarh, Sonepur, Bolangir, Bhadrak, Jagatsinghpur, Dhenkana, Deogarh, Sambalpur, Jajpur and Balasore districts of Odisha.

The weather conditions are likely to continue until August 20.

“The extreme rainfall is more likely to occur in the northern part of Odisha and is less likely to worsen the flood condition prevailing in the southern parts,” said KK Singh, head of agromet advisory services division, IMD, New Delhi.

The event’s impact will be known after it passes, Singh said.

“Many crops have been damaged by flood, but the actual impact is yet to be assessed. More assessment will be needed after deep depression withers,” he added.

The water resource department officials said they were keeping a close watch on the water management systems of the dam. The backwaters of the Hirakud dam in Odisha have already flooded the nearby villages due to the release of water from upstream dams and barrages of Chhattisgarh.

Officials at the Hirakud dam released water downstream August 11 after authorities from Chhattisgarh released large amounts of water towards Hirakud.

The water release caused flooding in the backwaters, compelling the Odisha water resource department to open several dam gates to mitigate the situation.

The situation will be better controlled despite the extreme rains expected in the next 48 hours, Ananda Chandra Sahu, chief engineer and basin manager for Mahanadi, assured.

“At present, the water coming from upstream dams is 0.325 million cubic feet per second (cusecs) against the 0.9 million cusecs that was being released over the past few days. The rains have receded in the upstream areas. Moreover, the discharge from Hirakud dam is at 0.956 million cusecs,” he said.

The current situation will help to bring relief to the people living near the backwaters, said Sahu.

“It is possible to manage the situation despite the heavy weather warning. More details can be ascertained once the rainfall received and its impact is measured in coming days,” he added. 

Subscribe to Daily Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.