New Delhi: Severe cyclonic storm Fani is expected to make landfall on Friday near Puri, Odisha between Gopalpur and Chandbali with a maximum speed of 170-180 kmph. Cyclone Fani is currently over the Bay of Bengal about 500 km southwest of Puri.

The cyclone’s landfall is expected to be accompanied by storm surge of 1.5 metre height above the astronomical tide, which is likely to inundate low lying areas of Ganjam, Khurda, Puri, Jagatsinghpur districts of Odisha. The cyclone’s landfall is expected to be followed by very heavy rain.

Fani is the most severe cyclonic storm since the super cyclone of 1999 that claimed close to 10,000 lives and left a trail of destruction in vast swathes of Odisha, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre (JWTC).

India Meteorological Department (IMD) sources said it is also the first cyclonic storm of such severity to have formed in April in India's oceanic neighbourhood in 43 years.

What is Fani:

A powerful cyclonic storm named Fani (pronounced Foni) is headed towards the Odisha coast. It is expected to generate storms with wind speeds as high as 200 km per hour.

Fani has been continuously monitored ever since it developed southeast of Sri Lanka about a week ago, warnings have been issued after every few hours to fishermen and people living in coastal regions, and a massive emergency preparedness has been mounted.

Also read: Indian Navy stands with nation as cyclone Fani intensifies into 'severe cyclone'

Measures taken so far

1. PM Narendra Modi held a high-level meeting to review the preparedness for Cyclone Fani. He instructed his senior officers to stay in close touch with states that are likely to bear the brunt and ensure that effective measures are taken. The meeting was attended by the cabinet secretary,  home secretary and other senior officials from the IMD, NDRF and the National Disaster Management Authority.

2. Odisha began evacuating lakhs of people from its seaside villages and interior districts in buses and smaller vehicles on Thursday, a day before the cyclone makes landfall. Till Thursday evening, at least 8 lakh people had been evacuated. More than 800 cyclone shelters, school and college buildings and other important structures are kept ready for the evacuees.

3. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has ordered shutting down of the Bhubaneswar airport from midnight. Flights to and from Bhubaneswar airport stand ‘cancelled’ on May 3 in view of cyclone Fani. No flights will take off or land from Kolkata's Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport between 9.30 pm of May 3 and 6 pm of May

4. The Indian Railways has also cancelled 89 trains.

5. The Union home ministry has deployed its paramilitary forces along the Odisha coast as part of its advanced preparedness strategy.

6. Defence forces are on high alert ahead of Cyclone Fani. The Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and personnel of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) and fire service have been deployed in vulnerable areas to help the administration in evacuations.

Also read: Cyclone Fani to turn into ‘very severe’

How it was named Fani

The name for this cyclone was suggested by Bangladesh, which means snake. The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has devised a mechanism where countries submit a list of names from time to time. Names of cyclones are chosen from this pool.

For tropical cyclones developing in the North Indian Ocean, countries like India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan and Thailand send their names to the regional tropical cyclone committee.

At present, all eight countries have submitted eight names each for naming future cyclones. The name Fani was chosen from this list containing 64 names.