Skip to main content

Cyclone Phailin menaces India's east coast

By Laura Smith-Spark and Mari Ramos, CNN
October 11, 2013 -- Updated 2310 GMT (0710 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Roughly 80,000 people have been evacuated, an official says
  • Cyclone Phailin is expected to hit east coast states of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh
  • The tropical cyclone, now over the Bay of Bengal, is expected to make landfall Saturday
  • Odisha's weather service warns of a 3-meter storm surge, gales and heavy rainfall

(CNN) -- Preparations are under way on India's east coast ahead of Saturday's expected landfall of a massive cyclone now gathering strength in the Bay of Bengal.

Tropical Cyclone Phailin is expected to make landfall somewhere near the border of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh states in India.

The cyclone, which is packing sustained winds of 155 mph (about 250 kph), with gusts of up to 190 mph, could hit densely populated areas that are vulnerable to flooding.

Roughly 80,000 people have been evacuated from low-lying areas in the region, with many leaving on foot or by bicycle, said Kamal Lochan Mishra, the Odisha Disaster Management Authority deputy general. Evacuations are continuing, he said.

Some fear a repeat of what happened on October 29, 1999, when Cyclone 05B, also known as the Odisha Cyclone, made landfall in the same area, causing the loss of more than 10,000 lives.

The strongest tropical cyclone recorded in the Bay of Bengal, it packed winds of 155 mph at landfall and caused more than $2 billion in damage.

Phailin may be less intense than that at landfall and is likely to weaken as it moves on shore, but will still bring storm surges and dump heavy rainfall on inland areas in its path.

The India Meteorological Department warns that Phailin is a "very severe cyclonic storm" and urges the evacuation of coastal areas.

The storm will bring gale-force winds and a storm surge that may reach about 10 feet (3 meters) above the usual tide level and could inundate low-lying areas of the Odisha's Ganjam, Khurda, Puri and Jagatsinghpur districts and the Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh during landfall, it said.

Rainfall, some of it very heavy, is expected in coastal Odisha and northern Andhra Pradesh starting Friday evening, its forecast said.

By Saturday evening, inland areas of Odisha and west Bengal state will also get heavy rainfall, it said.

Seas off the coast of Odisha and northern Andhra Pradesh are expected to become extremely rough as the cyclone approaches. Fishing operations are suspended, and all fishermen are advised to return to shore.

The meteorological department warns of extensive damage to so-called kutcha houses, those made of flimsy materials such as mud and bamboo, as well as some damage to old buildings.

Power and communication lines are likely to suffer large-scale disruption. Extensive flooding will also disrupt rail and road traffic, and crops are likely to suffer major damage, it said.

People in affected areas may be at risk from flying debris, as well as the flooding of escape routes. Residents are advised to stay indoors as the cyclone makes landfall, the forecast said.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1344 GMT (2144 HKT)
Experts believe that ISIS may be using a Spanish enclave to bring jihad to Europe.
September 29, 2014 -- Updated 0613 GMT (1413 HKT)
Two men familiar with inside knowledge of ISIS speak with CNN's Arwa Damon.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1300 GMT (2100 HKT)
With an efficient subway, inexpensive taxis and a good public bus system, Hong Kong is normally an easy city to navigate ...
September 28, 2014 -- Updated 2332 GMT (0732 HKT)
CNN's Ivan Watson was in the middle of a pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong when things got out of hand.
Explore CNN's interactive that explains ISIS' roots, what it controls, and where its support comes from.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1353 GMT (2153 HKT)
The world's animal population has halved in 40 years as humans put unsustainable demands on Earth, a new report warns.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1249 GMT (2049 HKT)
Every day, refugees and migrants risk their lives as they seek a new life. Now, a new report puts a figure to the number of victims.
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 2010 GMT (0410 HKT)
In his first-ever interview as the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani defended his country against allegations of funding terrorism.
September 27, 2014 -- Updated 1503 GMT (2303 HKT)
The North Korean leader hasn't been seen for weeks, leading to speculation that he is in poor health.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 0154 GMT (0954 HKT)
Haider al-Abadi hopes airstrikes don't lead to "of another terrorist element" instead of ISIS.
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 1319 GMT (2119 HKT)
The United States couldn't do it on its first try. Neither could the Soviets.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 1529 GMT (2329 HKT)
CNN's Nima Elbagir reflects on a harrowing trip to Liberia where she covered the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history.
September 26, 2014 -- Updated 1423 GMT (2223 HKT)
Contrary to public opinion, rats can actually save lives -- Apopo's rats have actually saved thousands.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1336 GMT (2136 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT