Cyclone Fani claims three lives in Odisha, likely to hit WB tonight
Bhubaneswar/Puri, May 3 (IBNS/UNI): At least three people have died in the cyclonic storm Fani, which made landfall in Odisha on Friday morning.
The cyclone resulted in the uprooting of several trees and electricity poles causing power cuts in several parts.
Fani crossed Odisha between 8 am and 10 am on Friday morning, triggering heavy rains coupled with high-velocity wind with speed of 175 kmph in many areas.
The IMD said that while damaging houses and uprooting thousands of trees and electricity poles, the eye of Fani, almost 25 km in diameter, is sending off wind velocity of 150 to 175 kmph and even above at some places touching 180 kmph or more.
Large areas in the seaside pilgrim town of Puri and other places were submerged in water as torrential rains battered the entire coastal belt of the state.
Several trees were uprooted and thatched structures destroyed at some places, including the capital Bhubaneswar.
Road communication was disrupted at many places and power connection snapped. Heavy rains still continue in many parts of coastal Odisha.
Cyclone Fani, the strongest storm to hit India since 2014, is weakening after barreling into Odisha, the chief of the state-run India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
Heavy rains, along with strong winds, will continue throughout the day in Odisha, where more than a million people have been evacuated, K J Ramesh, Director General of the IMD said.
"After making landfall this morning, cyclone Fani has started weakening and it's likely to enter Bangladesh by tomorrow evening," he said. "No cyclone ever had such a long duration in April."
Puri, Khurda, Bhubaneswar and Jagatsinghpur districts in Odisha are witnessing extremely heavy rainfall in wake of Cyclone Fani.
Extensive damage to the structure of AIIMS Bhubaneswar was reported due to Cyclone Fani. All patients, staff, students are, however, safe. Many water tanks have been blown off, lighting poles uprooted and air conditioners damaged.
Wildlife sanctuaries such as Nalabana Bird Sanctuary, Balukhanda Wildlife Sanctuary, Nandankanan Zoological Park and Bhitarakanika Wildlife Sanctuaries were all hit by the storm.
Food is being distributed at cyclone shelter set up at Sea Aquarium in Paradip
All flights to and from Bhubaneswar remain cancelled on Friday.
In neighbouring West Bengal, Kolkata airport will remain shut till 8 am on Saturday. More than 200 flights from Kolkata will be cancelled.
The cyclone very likely to move further north-northeastwards and emerge into Bangladesh on May 4 evening as a cyclonic storm, the Regional weather officials said.
Earlier, the Odisha Government had evacuated lakhs of people from the coastal areas to camps on higher grounds. At least 14 districts are in the path of the Cyclone Fani. People have been evacuated from Gajapati, Ganjam, Khurda, Puri, Naygarh, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Jajpur, Bhadrak and Balasore Mayurbhanj, Dhenkanal and Keonjhar which are expected to be badly impacted by the storm.
Nearly 11 lakh people have been evacuated in the last 24 hours. More than three lakh people were evacuated from Ganjam and 1.3 lakh in Puri. About 5,000 kitchens have started operating to serve people in the shelters.