Today's Paper

Another cyclone threat to coastal AP

Even as the enumeration of extensive crop loss caused by the tropical cyclonic storm Helen is yet to commence, the coastal Andhra region is faced with another “very severe cyclonic storm’’ that is likely to cross the coast on November 28 afternoon.

Lehar, as the category 5B cyclonic storm is christened, currently lay centred 200 km off Port Blair in the south Andamans.

It is likely to intensify further and cross the Andaman coast on Sunday midnight to gradually emerge as a very severe cyclonic storm in the south east of Bay of Bengal.

The Meteorological Department had issued an orange message suggesting the intensity of the storm that is set to attain wind speed between 170 kmph and 180 kmph at the time of landfall. After entering the Bay of Bengal, the storm would move west-northwest wards and is likely to cross the coast between Kalingapatnam and Machilipatnam near Kakinada.

The conditions are expected to be severe if the storm traces the predicted path and converts into a very severe cyclonic storm as it would be accompanied by significant flooding of coastal areas. Helen inflicted huge crop losses in Krishna, Guntur and East and West Godavari districts with preliminary estimates put at Rs. 1,628.66 crore. East Godavari bore the brunt with Rs. 1,018 crore.

The loss is expected to be further compounded if Lehar hits the coast with the intensity forecast.

Collectors alerted

The Disaster Management authorities had announced total suspension of fishing activity during the next few days and evacuation of people in low-lying areas would commence anytime now.

Disaster Management Commissioner C. Parthasarathy said a clear picture on the strength of the storm would emerge in a day or two, but Lehar was expected to be more intense than Helen that crossed the coast a couple of days ago.

Since the path of the cyclone could be known only after its entry into the Bay of Bengal, the Government had alerted the Collectors of all coastal districts from Srikakulam to Nellore. Replying to queries, he said the number of deaths due to Helen remained at six and the Government had announced a compensation of Rs. 2 lakh each (including Rs. 50,000 under Apatbandhu) to families of the deceased.

Recommended for you