Bhubaneswar: Very severe cyclonic storm Titli which is being referred to as a Category 2 hurricane, made landfall in Odisha’s Gopalpur on Thursday with surface winds reaching 126 kmph, the Met said. There has been no casualty yet.
Heavy rains were dumped in at least eight districts of Ganjam, Gajapati, Khurda, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Balasore as Titli with high-velocity winds crossed the south Odisha-north Andhra Pradesh coasts leaving behind uprooted trees and displacing three lakh people.
Gajapati district is the worst affected till now. Road communication from district headquarters to various parts like Mohana and Kashinagar was disrupted, said Special Relief Commissioner Bishnupada Sethi.
Odisha’s Balasore received very heavy rainfall of 117 mm and Paradip recorded 111 mm of rains. Gopalpur, where the cyclone made its landfall, has so far received 97 mm of rain, and hefty showers were further expected over the region, said Skymet Weather.
Power supply and telephone lines were snapped in Ganjam, where wind gusted at 165 kmph uprooting trees, levelling houses disrupting road communication.
According to hourly coastal observations, Gopalpur reported surface wind speed of 126 kmph at 4.30 a.m., the IMD said. “Titli will completely cross the Odisha coast in two to three hours,” Bhubaneswar Meteorological Centre Director H.R. Biswas said.
The coastal alert has been put at 10 — the highest with fishermen prohibited from venturing into the sea for the next few days.
It crossed Palasa in Srikakulam district between 4.30 a.m. and 5.30 a.m., said the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD).
Damages to houses with thatched and asbestos roofs and street lights were reported in Ganjam district. Road was blocked by falling of trees, said a government report.
About three lakh people were shifted from low-lying and vulnerable areas in Ganjam, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara and Khordha districts.
A total of 1,112 relief camps have been opened for the shelter of those evacuated.
The landfall process which continued for two to three hours till 8.30 a.m. to 9 a.m. with a wall cloud in the rear sector of the cyclone yet to enter completely into the land brought heavy rains in several parts of the state that may continue till Friday.
Odisha Chief Secretary Aditya Padhi announced that all schools, colleges and anganwadis would remain closed on Thursday and Friday.
Trees have been uprooted in large numbers in the coastal belt as Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik set a mission “zero casualties” for the and directed district administration, police, fire service, and coastguard to closely monitor the situation and remain prepared with adequate relief materials.
A total of 13 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and nine Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) teams have been deployed at strategic locations.
The system is very likely to move northwestwards for next 12 hours and then re-curve northeastwards towards Gangetic West Bengal across Odisha, said Biswas.