The water level of River Godavari has crossed the 52-feet mark, just one feet below the third warning (danger) level of 53 feet, at the temple town of Bhadrachalam on Friday afternoon, prompting the authorities to evacuate people living in the flood prone areas to safer places in the Bhadrachalam Agency.

Earlier, the authorities issued the second warning at 7.15 a.m. on Friday morning after the river surpassed the 48-feet mark. The swollen river is likely to touch the danger level of 53 feet on Friday afternoon.

Flood threat looms large over 111 villages in low-lying areas in Venkatapuram, Charla, Wajedu, Kunavaram, V R Puram, Dummugudem, Chintur and Bhadrachalam mandals as water level neared the third warning level.

A high alert has been sounded in the flood-prone areas along the river course in the Bhadrachalam Agency as the river turned perilous owing to the unabated rains in the catchment areas. All the tributaries of the Godavari including Taliperu are in spate.

Road communication to more than 60 villages in Wajedu, Charla, Velerupadu, Kunavaram, Aswapuram, Dummugudem, Venkatapuram and some other mandals was snapped as swollen streams swamped the low-level culverts and causeways at various points on Charla-Venkatapuram main road and other routes in the Agency areas.

Backwaters from the swollen river touched some low-lying areas in Bhadrachalam town and floodwaters entered houses at various flood-prone villages in Charla, Aswapuram and Venkatapuram mandals. The officials shifted people living in the flood-prone areas to temporary shelters set up in ashram schools and other government buildings. Wajedu mandal in Bhadrachalam division received the highest rainfall of 460.4 mm, followed by Venkatapuram, which recorded 210.2 mm of rainfall in the last 24 hours, till 8 a.m. on Friday.

The flood situation turned grim ahead of the gram panchayat elections in the Bhadrachalam division slated for July 23. A flood control room (08742-231600) has been set up at the Collectorate in Khammam. Another control room (08743-232444) has been functioning at the Sub-Collector’s office in Bhadrachalam.