Several places in Andhra Pradesh began experiencing heavy rainfall in the wake of the severe cyclonic storm, named as 'Laila', that lay in the Bay of Bengal, about 180 km off the Chennai coast on Wednesday morning.
Met Department officials said the cyclonic storm was moving in a North-Westerly direction towards Andhra Pradesh and was likely to cross the coast anywhere between Ongole and Visakhapatnam on Thursday morning. That it is moving steadily towards the land is evident from the fact that storm, which lay 550 kms off the coast at 5.30 pm on Tuesday, had moved much closer.
Danger signal 7 has been hoisted in all the sea ports in Andhra Pradesh and fishermen strongly cautioned against venturing into the sea. Revenue officials began evacuating people from all villages considerable vulnerable to inundation by high waves and heavy rainfall. So far, ten people have been killed due to collapse of sheds or after being struck by lightning.
Chief Minister K. Rosaiah held a meeting of his Cabinet at 11 am when the Ministers are expected to make a thorough review of the preparedness of the administrative machinery to meet any eventuality. Several teams of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), equipped with boats and other rescue material were positioned in the coastal districts.
In Anantapur district, 150 electric poles collapsed causing extensive disruption of power supply in villages in Atmakur Mandal while 40 boats were damaged at Bheemunipatnam near Visakhapatnam. All the seven fishermen reported missing in Nellore and East Godavari districts returned home safely but the whereabouts of four other fishermen in Prakasam district and two others in Krishna district were not known.
Heavy rains accompanied by strong gales are lashing several parts of Nellore district since Wednesday morning. The district received an average rainfall of 10.5 mm while the situation was turning for the worse in several villages located along the coast. Trees were uprooted and power supply interrupted in several places.
Roads were inundated in Nellore, Gudur, Kavali and other towns as there was a continuous downpour. Electric wires snapped at several places and fell on roads causing traffic disruption.