The very severe cyclonic storm “Fani”, presently located over the west-central Bay of Bengal, about 650 km south-southwest of Puri, has intensified further into an extremely severe cyclonic storm and remained on course to cross the Odisha coast on Friday.

A wind speed of 170-180 kmph, gusting up to 200 kmph, has been predicted as the storm is likely to cross between Gopalpur and Chandbali near Puri on 3 May afternoon.

The districts to be impacted include Puri, Ganjam, Gajapati, Khurda, Cuttack, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur, Bhadrak, Balasore, Mayurbhanj and Nayagarh, said Dr SC Sahu, Director of Centre for Climate Studies SOA, a deemed varsity here.

High wind speed, torrential rain and storm surge up to five to seven metres are also predicted.

The districts of Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara and Khurda could experience extremely heavy precipitation of more than 300 mm during the passage of the cyclone.

An IMD bulletin on Tuesday evening said storm surge of about 1.5 metre above astronomical tide is likely to inundate low lying areas of Ganjam, Khurda, Puri and Jagatsinghpur districts of Odisha at the time of possible landfall.

While heavy rainfall is expected across Odisha, light to moderate rainfall is expected in many other states including Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal.

Indian Navy, Indian Air Force, and Army relief teams are also on high alert for rapid response.

In view of the severity of the situation, the Indian Navy has stationed two ships at Visakhapatnam and Chennai carrying expert divers and doctors, an official said.

Aircraft of the Indian Navy are also in a state of readiness at two locations for emergency services.

The Indian Air Force has also been alerted and their services will be utilised if necessary, Odisha Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) B P Sethi said, adding the state government has taken up the matter with the NDRF. 

After a video conference with Union Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha, Odisha Chief Secretary A P Padhi told reporters that the primary task is to ensure proper evacuation of people from low-lying areas of the coastal districts, which will be launched on May 2.

All the 880 cyclone centres have been readied for the purpose. Boats have also been kept in a state of readiness, the SRC said.