Severe cyclonic storm packing winds of up to 150 kmph and widespread rains hit parts of eastern India on Thursday, killing eight people in Andhra Pradesh and one in Odisha, damaging homes, uprooting trees and power lines in the two states.
Cyclone Titli made landfall on the eastern coast early on Thursday, wreaking havoc mainly in Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha’s Gajapati and Ganjam districts.
According to the India Meteorological Department, Cyclone Titli made landfall near Palasa in Srikakulam district, southwest of Gopalpur in Odisha with an estimated maximum sustained surface wind speed of 140-150 km per hour gusting to 165 km per hour between 4.30 am and 5.30 am.
The cyclonic storm system is now moving northeastwards towards Gangetic West Bengal across Odisha and will weaken gradually, the IMD said.
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While a 62-year-old woman died at Gudivada Agraharam village after a tree fell on her, a 55-year-old man died in a house collapse at Rotanasa village in Srikakulam, the Andhra Pradesh State Disaster Management Authority said.
The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister’s Office said the other six killed were fishermen who had ventured into the sea.
In Odisha, the cyclonic storm led to very heavy rainfall mainly in Ganjam, Gajapati and Puri districts and caused minor damage to power supply and communication. An eight-year-old boy drowned in a canal in the Hinjili area of Ganjam district, where five people were reported missing after being swept away in the flood waters.
Cyclonic storm Titli caused extensive damage to large parts of Gajapati and neighbouring Rayagada districts but spared most of the other coastal areas , though , heavy rains continued right through the day.
Apprehensions of the very severe cyclonic storm Titli causing extensive devastation with wind speeds of over 165 kmph in coastal Odisha districts particularly – Gajapati, Ganjam, Puri, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur districts had prompted the government to evacuate over 3 lakh people from low lying areas.
But it turned out to be an anti-climax of sorts – the windspeeds were not as predicted and except for heavy rains there was no effect in vast areas of coastal Odisha.
Gajapati went without power and road communication as large number of trees and electric poles had collapsed. Several houses were damaged. Parts of Ganjam and Rayagada district had also faced the worse in terms of road communication.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik directed the officials to start the restoration work immediately soon after the wind speed and the rain subsided in the areas.
Patnaik who reviewed the post cyclone Titli situation at a high level meeting instructed immediate restoration of power and water supply.
Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi said Gajapati district was worst affected by the cyclone. Almost all the blocks of the districts were affected and the communication was badly hit as trees were uprooted and blocked the roads at many places.
Power supply was also affected in the district as many places the overhead wire were snapped due to the high wind speed of cyclonic storm Titli which hit the area with wind speed reaching nearly 126 KMPH.
Ganjam district was better off as power supply was restored.
The Chief Secretary said 13 NDRF teams and 20 ODRAF teams were deployed in various sensitive areas of the state for the rescue and relief operation and the government has requested to deploy additional two NDRF teams in Gajapati district taking the situation into consideration.
The districts of Ganjam, Gajpati, Balasore and Jagatsinghpur district on an average received more than 100 MM of rain.
Gajapati district received more than 200 MM of rain on average and the Mohana Block in Gajapati district received the highest rainfall of 315 mm of rain.