- India is bracing for a major cyclone that officials are calling an “extremely severe cyclonic storm.”
- The storm made landfall on Friday morning around 8 a.m. in the eastern state of Odisha with winds around 145 kph (90 mph), NDTV reported.
- According to the New York Times, tens of millions of people are potentially in the storm’s path.
- Experts estimate that the severe tropical cyclone may be the worst the country has seen in nearly two decades.
India is bracing for the near record-breaking Cyclone Fani, which made landfall on Friday morning around 8 a.m. in the eastern state of Odisha with winds around 145 kph (90 mph), The New York Times reported.
Experts estimate that the severe tropical cyclone may be the worst the country has seen in nearly two decades. In 1999, a super cyclone in the state of Odisha killed about 10,000 people.
Here’s what we know so far:
The storm has been classified as “extremely severe”
India’s Meteorological Department has classified Fani as an “extremely severe cyclonic storm” on Thursday and predicted storm surges of about 1.5 meters (5 feet). Conditions are expected to be similar to a Category 4 hurricane.
The most recent update from the department said Fani was building in the Bay of Bengal and was expected to hit towns and villages along the coast.
Government agencies have ramped up their presence along the coast
Government agencies and emergency services have increased their presence in the region. According to the New York Times, tens of millions of people are potentially in the storm’s path.
Tourists have been evacuated from the popular beach town of Puri, located along Odisha’s coastline which is expected to be hit hard by the cyclone. The country’s Press Information Bureau said late Thursday that 10,000 villages and 52 towns located across the region will be affected. Around 900 cyclone shelters have been set up to accommodate people seeking refuge.
The press bureau estimated that over 1 million people will have to be moved to safer area, and over 330,000 people have already been evacuated.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high-level meeting with his Cabinet to assess the nation’s preparedness for the incoming storm, calling for close coordination with officials in the affected states and readiness of relief agencies.
India’s Navy has deployed ships for relief and rescue operations as it anticipcates the storm making landfall. Aircrafts and helicopters are also on standby to drop relief materials.
Some flights have been cancelled as the storm is expected to move further north
India’s aviation authority announced on Thursday that flights to and from Bhubaneswar and Kolkata will be cancelled on Friday.
The country’s press bureau warned on Thursday that the cyclone is very likely to move further north and emerge into nearby Bangladesh on Saturday. Heavy rainfall warnings have been issued in several states, including North Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, and Meghalaya.
According to Axios, India’s Bay of Bengal has become a landing point for major tropical storms which dump large amounts of water onto densely populated areas. Dozens of tropical cyclones have hit the region over the past 20 years.
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