Cyclone Phailin has started crossing Odisha coast near Gopalpur.

Cyclone Phailin: Odisha helpline numbers

9.30 p.m.:

Cyclone Phailin has started crossing Odisha coast near Gopalpur. Windspeeds have touched about 200 kmph, IMD sources say. Meanwhile, heavy to very heavy rainfall is reported in Odisha and north coastal Andhra Pradesh.

8.49 p.m.

Government on Saturday directed Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal to be prepared to handle the anticipated damage to the national highways from cyclone Phailin.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has put the NHAI officials in these states on alert. Regional Officers and Project Directors of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) in Odisha, AP, and West Bengal should to be in full readiness to counter the damage to the national highways, an official statement said.

8.42 p.m.

Of the total 3.61 lakh people evacuated in the last 24 hours, 1.2 lakh were from Ganjam district alone, Odisha Revenue and Disaster Management Minister S.N. Patro said.

Besides Ganjam, 80,000 people in Puri district, 16,380 in Khurda district, 56,998 in Jagatsingh district, 16,000 in Kendrapara district, 14,205 in Bhadrak district, 1950 in Balasore district, 46,409 in Cuttack district, 1,235 in Nayagarh district and 8,000 in Gajapati district were moved to safety, Mr. Patro said.

8.40 p.m.

Of the total 3.61 lakh people evacuated in the last 24 hours, 1.2 lakh were from Ganjam district alone, Revenue and Disaster Management minister S.N. Patro said.

Besides Ganjam, 80,000 people in Puri district, 16,380 in Khurda district, 56,998 in Jagatsingh district, 16,000 in Kendrapara district, 14,205 in Bhadrak district, 1950 in Balasore district, 46,409 in Cuttack district, 1,235 in Nayagarh district and 8,000 in Gajapati district were moved to safety, Mr. Patro said

8.35 p.m.

At least five people were killed as heavy rains and strong winds swept coastal Odisha ahead of cyclone Phailin’s landfall. Of the five dead, two died in Ganjam district, where the cyclone was likely to hit land. Two died in Jagatsinghpur district and one in Bhubaneswar.

Four of the deaths occurred as trees uprooted in strong winds fell on the people. An 80-year-old woman died after her mud house collapsed while she was asleep.

Wind speeds in several parts of Odisha were over 100 km per hour. More than a dozen seaside villages have been inundated.

8.22 p.m.

Govt. ready with choppers, aircraft, ships for cyclone rescue

Eighteen helicopters, 12 aircraft and two war ships have been kept ready by the government for rescue and relief operations in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh which are facing the brunt of cyclone Phailin.

Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said the Indian Air Force choppers and aircraft and the two navy ships are placed in close proximity of the eastern coastline and would be deployed for rescue and relief operations.

“The cyclone has left Andaman Nicobar Islands and will hit Odisha any time now. Three districts of Andhra Pradesh and 8 districts in Odisha are likely to be affected,” he told reporters in New Delhi.

Mr. Shinde said 5.5 lakh people in Odisha and 1 lakh people in Andhra Pradesh were evacuated in safer places, mostly in 500 cyclone shelters.

“Some people have showed resistance (against evacuation). Forces have been alerting them. Police have been trying to evacuate them,” he said.

8.06 p.m.

Cyclone Phailin is closing in on Odisha and is just 30 km away from Gopalpur in Ganjam district tonight, chief of Cyclone Warning Centre Mritunjay Mahapatra said.

Mr. Mahapatra told PTI in Bhubaneswar that the cyclone will strike with a windspeed of 180 kmph to 190 kmph.

Earlier it was predicted that it will hit the Odisha coast between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. with a speed of 210 kmph to 220 kmph gusting to 230 kmph.

The IMD forecast waves with a height of 3.0 metre to 3.5 metre in Ganjam, Puri, Khurda and Jagatsinghpur districts.

The Great Danger Signal 10 has been hoisted at Gopalpur and Puri and Great Danger Signal 9 at Paradip and Chandbali ports.

7.54 p.m. Cyclone Phailin static, gains strength; 30 km from Gopalpur

7.41 p.m. Windspeeds in Gopalpur is about 180-190 kmph.

7.40 p.m. Impact on coastline between Paradip in Odisha and Kalingapatnam in Andhra Pradesh

7:35 p.m. Wind speeds likely to be more than 230 kmph, says IMD. No power supply in coastal areas of Odisha. Power utilities in Andhra Pradesh under the Eastern Power Distribution Company Ltd have geared up to meet any emergency arising out of cyclone ‘Phailin’ hitting the coastal districts of Srikakulam, West Godavari, East Godavari, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam.

7.32 p.m. The West Bengal government deployed disaster management and civil defence personnel in the coastal areas with Cyclone Phailin poised to strike neighbouring Odisha this evening.

Manmohan Singh briefed by Cabinet Secretary on arrangements put in place to deal with Cyclone Phailin: PMO.

7.27 p.m.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh directed that all possible assistance be extended to the states which are on alert for cyclone ‘Phailin’ after reviewing the situation soon after his return from an overseas tour.

The Prime Minister’s Office said Singh was briefed by the Cabinet Secretary immediately upon his return from Indonesia.

He was apprised about the arrangements which have been put in place to deal with the crisis.

“PM was briefed by the Cabinet Secretary on the arrangements that have been put in place to deal with the impact of the cyclone,” the PMO said in a tweet.

The cyclone is set to hit the eastern coastline in the evening with lakhs of people having been evacuated by authorities.

Dr. Singh had gone to take part in the 11th ASEAN-India summit in Brunei from where he travelled to Indonesia.

Intermittent rains and up to 150 kmph winds hit Srikakulam.

Earlier updates:

Cyclone Phailin, which is likely to hit the eastern coast anytime now, was just 70 km off Gopaplpur and has intensified its speed, Meteorological department said.

The storm, which is likely to make a landfall anytime between 6 to 8 p.m., has intensified its speed to 20 kmph — it was moving at the speed of 15 kmph until few hours back.

“The cyclone makes landfall on Saturday evening and the intensity will continue until Sunday morning, but will slowly mellow down by Sunday evening and Monday morning,” said L.S. Rathore, Director-General Meterology told reporters on Saturday.

“With the tides rising up to 3 to 3.5 meters, sea water could enter in land up to 300-600 meters. The Ganjam area will be maximum hit due to this,” he added.

Meanwhile, Vikram Pradhan, Joint Resident Commissioner of Odisha Bhavan in Delhi said that more than 4,48,000 people have been evacuated.

He said, unlike the last time people were more forthcoming in the evacuation exercise as most are aware of the experience of the 1999 super cyclone.

“We are coordinating with the MHA and Ministry of Defence. 10 helicopters have been positioned at Barrackpore and have kept 29 NDRF teams ready with 9 teams of Orissa Disaster Action Force,” Mr. Pradhan said.

“We have stocked the supply of fuel, food and drinking water. 50 satellite phones, in addition to 18 phones sourced from ITBP, have been given to district collectors and superintendents in case of emergency.”

Phailin, said to be the strongest cyclonic storm to hit the region, was on Saturday evening hurtling towards coastal Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, where over 5.25 lakh people have been evacuated .

At least three persons were killed as strong winds ranging around 80 kmph accompanied with heavy downpour uprooted trees in several parts of Odisha, where the cyclone is set to make landfall near Gopalpur and in Kalingapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, by 8 p.m.

The Army, the IAF, the Navy, the CRPF and the National Disaster Response Force were positioned in areas vulnerable to the cyclone which is centred around 150 km southeast of Gopalpur and 260 km southeast of Paradip.

With Phailin closing in, water level along the Odisha coast was swelling. Heavy to very heavy rains were reported from the districts of Gajapati, Ganjam, Khurda, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Nayagarh, Cuttack, Bhadrak and Kendrapara in coastal region.

“Squally wind speeds reaching 80-90 kmph gusting to 100 kmph would prevail along and off Odisha coast during the next six hours.

“It would increase in intensity with gale speed reaching 210-220 kmph gusting to 240 kmph along and off the districts of Gajapati, Ganjam, Khurda, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Cuttack, Bhadrak and Kendrapara of coastal Odisha at the time of landfall,” a Met bulletin said.

Stating that the cyclonic storm was moving at 20 kmph, the IMD said “The system will cross close to Gopalpur between 6 and 8 pm with a speed of 210 kmph to 220 kmph gusting to 230 kmph.”

The IMD forecast a storm surge with a height of 3.0 metre 3.5 metre in Ganjam, Puri, Khurda and Jagatsinghpur districts.

The Great Danger Signal 10 has been hoisted at Gopalpur and Puri and Great Danger Signal 9 at Paradip and Chandbali ports, IMD sources said.

The IMD said that even after landfall, the storm is likely to maintain the intensity of a very severe cyclonic storm for six hours, before gradually weakening into a cyclonic storm in the next six hours while moving northwestwards across interior Odisha.

The IMD favoured total suspension of rail and road traffic in vulnerable areas, besides fishing.

Phailin is likely to maintain the intensity of a very severe cyclonic storm for six hours and gradually weaken into a cyclonic storm in subsequent six hours while moving northwestwards across interior Odisha.

All trains between Howrah and Visakhapatnam have been suspended and power supply switched off along the Odisha coastline, and three coastal districts in Andhra Pradesh as a precautionary measure.

Flights and trains from Odisha capital Bhubaneshwar have also been suspended.

At least 10 flights of Air India, Indigo and Jet Airways scheduled to arrive or take off from the airport here remained cancelled, director of Biju Patnaik International Airport Sarad Kumar told PTI.

The government braced for the deadly cyclone, the strongest since the one in 1999 that wreaked havoc in Odisha, leaving at least 9,000 people dead.

“Our main focus is to avoid loss of human life. So far we have evacuated 4.25 lakh people in Odisha and 1 lakh more in Andhra Pradesh,” Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami told reporters in Delhi.

Most of the evacuated people have been sheltered in 500 specially—built cyclone camps in the two states. Each cyclone shelter can accommodate up to 1,500 people while their ground floors may be used as cattle shelters.

Met officials said the impact of cyclone Phailin would be highest during the night and gradually come down from dawn.

The National Disaster Management Authority said it had deployed nearly 2,000 National Disaster Response Force personnel in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal.

Five lakh tonnes of foodgrains has been kept ready for distribution to the people in the affected region.

“We are ready with 5 lakh tonnes of foodgrains for distribution to cyclone-affected people in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha,” Union Food Minister K.V. Thomas said.

Rains will also lash parts of West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, East UP and Bihar.

Our Correspondent Prafulla Das reports from Bhubaneswar:

Heavy rains pound coastal Odisha

Normal life was thrown out of gear in several districts of coastal Odisha under the impact of very severe cyclonic storm Phailin that was likely to have its landfall at around 8 p.m. on Saturday as millions of people stayed indoors to spend a night of horror.

Darkness had in fact set in by late in the afternoon with heavy rains accompanied by heavy winds lashing the coastal of districts of Ganjam, Puri, and Khurda.

Even before the cyclone had its landfall, thousands of trees were uprooted by the gale winds with speed reaching 150 km per hour. People in most of the areas in entire coastal Odisha were managing without electricity.

“The very severe cyclonic storm would move north-westwards and cross north Andhra Pradesh and Odisha coasts close to Gopalpur in Ganjam district of Odisha during 6-8 pm,” the Bhubaneswar Meteorological Centre said in a bulletin that was issued at 5 pm.

As regards the impact of the storm, the Centre said that gale winds speed was likely to reach 210-220 kmph gusting to 240 kmph along and off districts of Gajapati, Ganjam, Khurda, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Cuttack, Bhadrak, Nayagarh and Kendrapara of Odisha at the time of landfall.

“State of sea along and off Odisha coast will be phenomenal. Storm surge with height of 3.0 to 3.5 metre above astronomical tide would inundate low lying areas of Ganjam, Khurda, Puri and Jagatsinghpur districts,” the Centre added.

The Odisha Government claimed that over 4.55 lakh people had been evacuated from low lying areas in the districts of Ganjam, Puri, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Bhadrak, Balasore, Cuttack, Nayagarh and Gajapati and kept in safe shelters,

Twenty units of National Disaster Rapid Action Force and 10 units of Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force had been posted in different districts that were likely to be badly affected by the cyclone.

Bengal govt keeps disaster management teams ready

The West Bengal government on Saturday deployed disaster management and civil defence personnel in the coastal areas with Cyclone Phailin poised to strike neighbouring Odisha on Saturday evening.

“We have posted disaster management, civil defence and rescue teams in Digha, Shankarpur, Contai, Mandarmoni, Diamond Harbour and some areas of the Sundarbans,” Disaster Management Minister Javed Khan told PTI in Kolkata.

He said that people at Digha, Mandarmoni and Shankarpur on the coast were advised to stay indoors.

Mr. Khan said a helpline would function from the state secretariat.

The MET office predicted heavy to very heavy rains at at some places over East and West Midnapore, North and South 24-Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly, Bankura, Burdwan and Purulia districts in the next 48 hours.

Kolkata would experience light to medium rainfall and an overcast sky, the MeT office said.

Fishermen were alerted and asked not to venture into the sea.

South Eastern Railway cancelled all south-bound trains beyond Kharagpur.