In less than a week, the Andhra Pradesh coast faces second cyclone threat with the met office issuing an alert on Monday.
Even before the authorities could take up enumeration of damage caused by last week’s cyclone Helen, the coastal belt faces a fresh cyclone in Bay of Bengal.
Christened Lehar, the severe cyclonic storm crossed Andaman and Nicobar Islands near Port Blair early on Monday.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a “yellow message” to the State. The cyclone over southeast Bay of Bengal is centred 1,200 km east-southeast off Machilipatnam, 1,140 km east-southeast off Kainada and 1,060 km southeast off Kalingapatnam.
“The system would intensify further gradually into a very severe cyclonic storm and would move west-northwestwards and cross Andhra Pradesh coast between Machilipatnam and Kalingapatnam near Kakinada around Nov. 28 (Thursday) noon,” said an IMD bulletin issued on Monday afternoon.
Moderate rainfall at many places would commence from Wednesday afternoon over north coastal Andhra Pradesh and south coastal Odisha. The IMD has forecast heavy to very heavy falls at a few places and isolated extremely heavy falls over north coastal Andhra Pradesh on Thursday.
Squally winds speed reaching 45-55 kmph gusting to 65 kmph would commence along and off Andhra Pradesh and south Odisha coasts from Wednesday.
It would increase in intensity with gale wind speed reaching 170-180 kmph gusting to 200 kmph along and off coastal districts of north coastal Andhra Pradesh and adjoining south coastal Andhra Pradesh at the time of landfall.
The met office has warned that the cyclone may cause extensive damage to houses, disrupt power and communication line and also affect rail and road traffic. It may also cause extensive damage to agricultural crops. The IMD has advised fishermen out at sea along and off Andhra Pradesh and south Odisha coasts to return.
Helen, which crossed Andhra coast near Machilipatnam on Friday, claimed six lives and damaged crops over 4.6 lakh hectares. According to initial estimate by the disaster management department, the cyclone caused a loss of Rs. 1,628 crore.
Helen struck Andhra Pradesh even before the State could recover from the damages caused by last month’s cyclone Phailin and heavy rains, which killed 58 people and damaged crops over 13 lakh hectares.
The State has sought an assistance of Rs. 6,500 crore from the Central government for relief and rehabilitation in areas affected by Phailin and heavy rains.