Hyderabad, December 17: Squalls of dust with heavy rainfall braces the state of Andhra Pradesh signaling Cyclone Phethai making landfall across its coast later in the afternoon. With signs of low depression in the south of Bay of Bengal, the arrival of cyclone has kept the state under high alert.
As per the Indian Meteorological Department, the severe cyclonic storm, Phethai, lay centered over Bay of Bengal about 320 km east-northeast of Chennai in Tamil Nadu, 160 km south-southeast of Machilipatnam and 190 km south-southeast of Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh as of 5:30 am on Monday. IMD has informed that the severe cyclonic storm was expected to cross Andhra Pradesh coast near Kakinada on Monday afternoon. However, it is likely to cross the coast as a cyclonic storm with a wind speed of 70-90 kmph gusting to 100 kmph, because it is expected to slightly weaken before landfall owing to "unfavourable environmental conditions”.
In view of the oncoming storm, authorities have put the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the Coast Guard on high alert. 16 teams of Andhra Pradesh Disaster Response and Fire Services have also been kept at standby at Rajamahendravaram. Nine teams, comprising five members each, are stationed in West Godavari district for road clearance.
Cyclone Phethai is the third cyclonic storm to hit southern India in the last two months after cyclones Titli and Gaja. Cyclone Phethai is likely to hit Andhra Pradesh coast later in the day, the state government has asked people to sore food for emergency and has also urged farmers to reap paddy from the fields to protect it from damage.
IndiGo Airlines on Sunday issued a travel advisory, stating that flight departures and arrivals at Visakhapatnam airport may be affected due to Cyclone Phethai. IMD has already issued heavy rainfall warning in north coastal Andhra Pradesh.