Cyclone 'Bulbul' may trigger heavy rain, Odisha govt gears up (Eds: Adding detail) Bhubaneswa

Cyclone 'Bulbul' may trigger heavy rain, Odisha govt gears up (Eds: Adding detail) Bhubaneswar, Nov 7 (PTI) With Cyclone 'Bulbul' set tointensify into a severe cyclonic storm soon and trigger heavyrain in Odisha, the state government Thursday issued a revisedadvisory asking the districts to brace up for possible flood-like situation and waterlogging.

Though cyclone 'Bulbul' over Bay of Bengal is set tomove towards Bangladesh and West Bengal coasts, skirtingOdisha, it will unleash heavy to very heavy rain in over tencoastal and northern districts in the state for at least threedays from Friday, a senior official said.

As per IMD predictions, coastal Odisha is also likelyto experience wind speed of 70-80 kmph gusting up to 90 kmphon Friday accompanied by heavy to very heavy downpour, SpecialRelief Commissioner (SRC), PK Jena said.

Earlier, the IMD had predicted light to moderaterainfall acompanied by wind with 40 to 50 kmph in northcoastal Odisha under its impact, he said.

Jena said the Prime Minister's office reviewed thesituation through video-conference on Thursday.

In view of rough weather, all schools and Anganwadiswill remain closed on Friday and Saturday in Puri,Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara districts, an official said.

Cyclone Bulbul, moving at a speed of 15 kmph, isnow centred over east-central Bay of Bengal, about 560 kmsouth-southeast of Paradip in Odisha and 680 km south-southeast of Sagar Islands in West Bengal, said the Directorof Bhubaneswar Meteorological Centre, HR Biswas.

It is likely to intensify into a severe cyclonic stormduring next 24 hours, move initially north-northwestwards fornext 12 hours and then towards northwards till Saturdaymorning. Thereafter, it is likely to re-curve northeastwardstowards Bangladesh and adjoining West Bengal, he said.

With the IMD modifying its predictions, Odishagovernment on Thursday asked the district collectors, mainlyin coastal and northern region, to be prepared to deal withany situation as the cyclone may trigger heavy tovery heavy rainfall in several areas, the SRC said.

While evacuation of people from vulnerable areas maybe undertaken wherever necessary, around 15 of the state's 30districts have been asked to remain prepared to deal with anypossible waterlogging and flood-like situation.

The SRC said around 15 districts, including Puri,Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak, Balasore, Cuttack, Jajpurand Mayurbhanj, have been asked to keep their administrativemachineries 'fully prepared' to tackle any contingency.

Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) and NDRFhave also been requested to send their teams to districts toassist the administration in dealing with the calamity, hesaid.

Officials have been told to ensure total suspension offishing oeprations from Friday. No fisherman should ventureinto the sea from Friday till further notice and those insidesea must return immediately, he said.

Farmers have also been advised to take steps to protectcrops and harvested paddy.

Jena said the cyclone is expected to cause damage tothatched houses, huts, embankmenets and salt pans, whileunattached metal sheets may fly.

It may cause partial damage to power and communicationlines, major damage to Kutcha (non-metalic) and some damage toPucca (metalic) roads, he said adding flooding of escaperoutes may also occur.

There may be breaking of tree branches, uprooting oftrees due to the cyclone which is likely to cause major damageto coastal crops, the SRC said adding people in the affectedareas should remain indoor.

Under the impact of the cyclone, heavy rainfall islikely to take place in Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara andBhadrak districts on Friday and Saturday. IMD has issued'yellow warning' (be aware) for these districts during theperiod.

Similarly, it issued 'orange warning' (be prepared)for Balasore,Bhadrak, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur districtson Saturday and Sunday when heavy to very heavy rainfall maypound these areas. Heavy rainfall will also lash some placesin Cuttack,Jajpur and Mayurbhanj districts on Sunday, it said.

Gale wind with 70-80 kmph speed and gusting to 90 kmphis likely to prevail over Jagatsinghpur, Balasore and Bhadrakdistricts on Saturday, the MeT centre said.

However, the prediction of the cyclone likely to skipOdisha has come as a major relief to the people of the state,who are struggling to return to normalcy post cyclone Fani inMay.

According to official reports, more than 64 peoplelost lives in cyclone Fani and over five lakh houses weredestroyed under its impact.

A fortnight ago, six people were killed in Odisha inrain-related incidents. PTI SKNSNS SNS