Like in the case of cyclones like Phailin, Hudhud and Titli over the past five years, the state government is planning a massive evacuation of people from areas likely to be affected by the storm.
Fani, now categorised as a severe cyclonic storm, lay centered over the Bay of Bengal and would intensify into an extremely severe cyclonic storm on Wednesday, said Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) officials.
According to an IMD forecast, the system is likely to move northwards till May 1 and then head northwestwards and cross Odisha’s coast between Gopalpur (in Ganjam district) and Chandbali (Bhadrak district). The tropical cyclone is likely to make a landfall in Puri district on Friday afternoon with a maximum wind speed of 175-185 kilometers per hour(Kmph), gusting to 205 Kmph.
As many as 12 districts have been put on high alert.
All the 880 cyclone centres, apart from 20 units of Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF), 28 units of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and 335 fire units have been put on alert. Indian Coastguard and Navy have deployed ships and helicopters for relief and rescue operations. Army and Air Force units have also been put on standby.
The storm is expected to cause heavy rains at isolated places in Odisha and West Bengal.
Fishermen of coastal states like Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal have been warned by the weathermen not to venture into the sea.
All the ports in Odisha have been asked to hoist distance warning signal- II due to the impending calamity.
The Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday ordered the advance release of Rs 1086 crore to the State Disaster Response Funds of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal to tackle the cyclonic storm.
Odisha Chief secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi asserted that adequate measures had been taken to meet any eventuality.
“The collectors have been asked to start evacuations from the morning of May 2 from the low lying areas and vulnerable locations of the coastal areas. The shifting process will be completed by Thursday evening. ODRAF teams are being pre-positioned in the vulnerable blocks. We are hopeful that we will tackle all the challenges,” said Padhi.