Bhubaneswar: The Cyclonic storm ‘Fani’, which is expected to hit the Odisha coast between Puri and Kendrapara by Friday, has intensified into an "extremely severe cyclonic" storm.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said that the cyclone is expected to move northwestwards till May 1 noon and thereafter recurve north-northeastwards and cross Odisha Coast between Gopalpur and Chandbali, to the south of Puri around May 3 afternoon with maximum sustained wind of speed 175-185 kmph gusting to 205 kmph.

Meanwhile, Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have been put on high alert.  The ministry of home affairs has also released funds from State Disaster Response Funds (SDRF) in advance to these four states.

Of the total financial assistance of Rs 1,086 crore, Odisha will get Rs 340.87 crore, Tamil Nadu Rs 309.37 crore, West Bengal Rs 235.50 crore and Andhra Pradesh will get Rs 200.25 crore, a home ministry statement said.

The state disaster management department in a message issued a warning to the fishermen asking them not to venture into the deep sea and urged those already there to return to the coast by Wednesday evening.

IMD warnings 

Heavy rainfall warning: Light to moderate rainfall is expected in all four states, starting from May 2. However, rainfall is likely to increase at most places and heavy to very heavy rainfall is expected at a few places with extremely heavy falls (>20 cm) at isolated places over coastal Odisha and its adjoining districts on May 3 and over north Odisha on May 4. 

Wind: gale wind speed reaching 170-180 kmph gusting to 200 kmph is prevailing over westcentral and adjoining the southwest Bay of Bengal. It is very likely to increase gradually becoming 180-190 kmph gusting to 210 kmph over Westcentral & adjoining Southwest Bay of Bengal off north Tamilnadu, Puducherry and south Andhra Pradesh Coast from 1 st May evening onwards. Strong wind speed reaching 30-40 kmph gusting to 50 kmph very likely along and off Tamilnadu coast, Comorin area, Gulf of Mannar and Kerala during next 12 hours.  Squally wind speed reaching 40-50 kmph gusting to 60 kmph is very likely to commence along & off north Andhra Pradesh & Odisha Coasts from  May 2 and very likely to become gale wind speed reaching 60-70 kmph gusting to 85 kmph from May 3 morning and become 175-185 kmph gusting to 205 kmph over Odisha Coast and 90-100 kmph gusting to 115 kmph over adjoining districts of north Andhra Pradesh (Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam and Vijayanagaram Districts) by May 3 evening. Squally wind speed reaching 40-50 kmph gusting to 60 kmph is very likely along and off West Bengal coast on May 2. It would become gale wind speed reaching 60-70 kmph gusting to 85 kmph from 3 rd May evening and become 90-100 kmph gusting to 115 kmph from May 4 morning. 

Sea condition: The sea condition will be phenomenal over Southwest Bay and adjoining southeast and westcentral Bay of Bengal, off north Tamilnadu, Puducherry and south Andhra Pradesh Coasts. It is very likely to be phenomenal over westcentral Bay of Bengal during  May 1 to May 3, 2019 and over Northwest Bay of Bengal from May 2 to May 4. Sea conditions very likely to be very rough to high along and off north Andhra Pradesh Coasts during May 1 to May 3 and high to phenomenal along and off Odisha and West Bengal Coasts during  May 2 to May 4. 

Storm surge Warning: Storm surges of about 1.5 meter height above astronomical tide is very likely to inundate low lying areas of Ganjam, Khurda, Puri and Jagatsinghpur Districts of Odisha at the time of landfall. 


Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) B P Sethi said that 20 units of the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF), 12 units of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and 335 units of fire services have been kept in a state of preparedness.
Instruction has been issued to undertake prompt evacuation of people from all vulnerable areas and shift them to the cyclone centres from May 2, he said, adding, all the 880 such centres have been readied for the purpose.

Boats are also kept in readiness for rescue operations if required.

The Indian Air Force, the Navy and Coast Guards have been alerted and their services will be utilised if necessary, Sethi said.

The district collectors of Ganjam, Khurda, Puri and Kendrapara have cancelled leaves of state government employees, as a part of the preparedness.