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Weakened Cyclone ‘Gulab’ spares Odisha with minimal damage, people relieved

People in 11 vulnerable districts heaved a sigh of relief as the worst fear of cyclonic devastation had not come true.

SNS | Bhubaneswar |

The Cyclone Gulab has largely spared the coastal State with minimal damage as it has weakened into a deep depression and is likely to abate further, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

People in 11 vulnerable districts heaved a sigh of relief as the worst fear of cyclonic devastation had not come true.

“By the grace of God, we are saved from Nature’s fury. The wind speed was less. Besides, we experienced moderate to light rain. As advised by the government, we did not leave the cyclone shelter on Sunday night. We left for home after things turned absolutely normal on Sunday night”, said M. Raghavendra, a local in a seaside fishing village in Gopalpur town of Ganjam district.

As the State government officials on Monday claimed that the impact of Cyclone Gulab was marginal, the cyclonic system has turned into a deep depression and has weakened into a depression by Monday afternoon.

There has been no report of death in any of the seven districts in south Odisha because of timely evacuation of people living in the vulnerable places. The government has yet again maintained its zero-fatality policy in natural disasters, Pradeep Kumar Jena said on Monday while briefing reporters.

The district authorities had evacuated 46,075 people from the vulnerable areas to 1,189 cyclone shelters. The evacuees included 1533 pregnant women, he said.

The government has not received any reports of major damage from any of the districts while road communication was disrupted in some hilly places of southern districts due to the overflowing of rainwater from hill streams. In Malkangiri, vehicular traffic was affected as uprooted trees blocked the roads. However communication links have been restored after the roads were cleared, Special Relief Commissioner Jena said.

No damage was reported to the power infrastructure, not even a single electric pole uprooted as the speed was less. Landslides have been reported at Shunkia ghat road in Koraput district due to heavy rains on Monday, he said, adding that communication will be restored once the intensity of rain decreases.

The State was impounded by heavy rain only.  The impact of the cyclonic storm was not experienced in any district. Heavy rain has lashed the southern districts with the highest rainfall of 148 mm recorded in Pottangi block of Koraput district, SRC Jena concluded.

“The deep depression over north Andhra Pradesh and adjoining south Odisha moved westwards with a speed of 06 kmph during last 06 hours, lay centered at 1130 hrs IST of 27 September over south Odisha and adjoining north Andhra Pradesh near Lat. 18.4°N and Long. 82.8°E, about 110 km south-southeast of Jagdalpur (Chhattisgarh) and 140 km west-northwest of Kalingapatnam (Andhra Pradesh),” a bulletin of the IMD issued at 3 pm today said.

It is likely to move nearly westwards and weaken further into a Depression during the next 12 hours, the bulletin added.

Under the influence of the deep depression, heavy rainfall is likely to lash south Odisha districts and some parts of south interior districts, the Met office said.

Orange and yellow warnings have been issued for Nabarangpur, Koraput and Malkangiri, Nuapada, Balangir, Rayagada and Kalahandi districts.

Squally wind, speed reaching 50-60 kilometre per hour (KMPH) gusting to 70 kmph will prevail over northwest and adjoining west-central Bay of Bengal during the next six hours and decrease thereafter to 40-50 gusting to 60 kmph over these areas in the subsequent 12 hours.

Gale wind speed reaching 50-60 kmph gusting to 70 kmph will prevail over Rayagada and Koraput districts and 45-55 kmph gusting to 65 kmph over Gajapati, Nabarangpur and Malkangiri districts during next six hours and gradually decrease thereafter.