Phailin could generate ocean waves of 8.5 m on the coast.About 40,000 people in Visakhapatnam, 4,000 in Vizianagaram and 20,000 in Srikakulam districts of Andhra Pradesh were evacuated.

Thousands of people living in vulnerable areas along the coastline in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh were evacuated, several trains cancelled and armed forces put on standby as the ‘very severe cyclonic storm’, Phailin, with a wind speed close to that of a super cyclone is set to cross the coast on Saturday evening.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in a bulletin that Phailin would attain a maximum sustained speed of 210-220 kmph — the wind speed crosses 240 kmph in case of a super cyclone. Phailin lay centred about 380 km south-southeast of Paradeep, 360 km southeast of Gopalpur and 360 km east-southeast of Kalingapatnam at 11.30 p.m. on Friday.

Accompanied by very heavy rains of up to 25 cm, the storm is expected to cross the coast somewhere between Kalingapatnam in north A.P. and Paradeep in Odisha, close to Gopalpur by Saturday evening and cause heavy destruction to roads, communication lines and crops. The East Coast Railway cancelled or regulated 24 trains even as coastal areas started experiencing rains.

About 40,000 people in Visakhapatnam, 4,000 in Vizianagaram and 20,000 in Srikakulam districts of Andhra Pradesh were evacuated. IAF choppers and transport aircraft were kept ready even as Army and Navy teams were on standby to take up rescue and relief operations.

In Odisha, 300 Army engineers have been mobilised to clear roads and fix technical problems.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy said four columns of the Army with medical and engineering staff and boats would be reaching Visakhapatnam by Saturday. Some 15 teams of the National Disaster Response Force are ready to undertake rescue and evacuation work in the vulnerable areas of Andhra Pradesh. Similarly 28 teams are on standby in Odisha.