Heavy to very heavy rain may lash three coastal districts – Guntur, Krishna and West Godavari – as tropical cyclonic storm, Helen, intensified into a severe cyclone on Thursday.
The storm lay centred about 180 km east-southeast of Machilipatnam and is expected to cross its coast during afternoon / evening on Friday. Under its influence, Guntur, Krishna, West and East Godavari districts may witness heavy to very heavy rainfall in the next 48 hours.
Heavy rainfall is also forecast for places in Telangana and Rayalaseema districts.
The cyclone initially moved in west southwest direction and was anticipated to hit the coast near Prakasam / Nellore.
But it subsequently changed course and was moving westwards to make landfall near Machiplipatnam.
The Meteorological Department had issued an orange message for the cyclone indicating it had strength of breaking branches of trees and uprooting of large avenue trees that could snap power and communication lines.
The severe cyclonic storm will be accompanied by winds that could reach speed of 95 to 105 kmph and storm surge of 1.5 m height and above. This could inundate low-lying areas along the coast.
In view of forecast of rough to very rough condition of the sea over the next two days, the Met department had asked the Government to ensure total suspension of fishing operations and evacuation of hutment dwellers in low-lying areas to safer places.
With the threat of large-scale inundation looming large, the State Government had put the administration of three districts on alert. Revenue Minister N. Raghuveera Reddy, who conducted a videoconference with the Collectors, enquired about the preparedness to tackle the impending calamity.
While evacuation of the people of low-lying and vulnerable areas in the districts likely to be affected had begun, the Collectors had been asked to warn people about the possible flash floods in streams and rivulets. While six teams of the National Disaster Response Force were in position, the State Government had requested more teams to be kept ready as also helicopters and generators.
About 450 personnel drafted recently for the State Disaster Management Force would also be available to help in evacuation and relief work.