Life was thrown out of gear on the southern Andhra Pradesh coast on Tuesday as heavy rain and high-velocity winds triggered by Cyclone Michaung lashed Bapatla town and nearby villages, uprooting trees and electric poles.
The severe cyclonic storm made its landfall from half past noon to 2.30 p.m. close to the south of Bapatla with a maximum sustained wind speed of 90-100 kmph.
Three persons were killed in rain-related incidents. While two were killed after a portion of a poultry unit collapsed in Eluru district, a constable of the APSP battalion in Kadapa was killed when a tree fell on him when he was riding a motorcycle in the Siddavatam forest range.
“The cyclone is moving towards the north, and is likely to weaken in the next few hours. However, heavy rain will continue,” the A.P. State Disaster Management Authority (APSDMA) said.
Officials said it would take a couple of days to restore power supply in the affected areas. As a precautionary measure, power was shut down well before the cyclone made its landfall. There were reports that a few walls and roofs of houses collapsed, but there were no casualties so far, the officials said. People living along the coast in thatched and tiled houses bore the brunt, they added.
The sea turned very rough, and there were high tides and gusting winds when the severe cyclone crossed the coast about 40 km from Bapatla.
“The sea has come forward by about 100 to 110 metres under the impact of the tidal waves. Many thatched fishermen houses have been damaged. However, there are no casualties in the fishermen colonies as most of them have been evacuated to safer places well in advance,” the officials said.
“We have been experiencing heavy rain for the last three days. But the incessant rain and strong winds since Monday evening created panic among the villagers,” said Mariyamma of the fishermen community.
“The police, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) teams have been posted on the Suryalanka beach,” said Superintendent of Police Vakul Jindal.
“We have shifted people residing in the thatched houses and huts in the nearby colonies,” NDRF Commandant Zahid Khan told The Hindu.
The wind was so strong that the NDRF personnel on the Suryalanka beach had to rush to the shelter homes for a brief period.
“The severe cyclone is likely to move northwards, weaken into a cyclonic storm and thereafter into a deep depression and depression, and fizzle out in the next 48 hours,” the APSDMA officials said. “As the intensity of rain picks up after the landfall, people living in the low-lying areas have been evacuated,” the officials said.