Cyclone Gulab: Heavy rains lash coastal districts of Andhra, relief operations on

Cyclonic storm Gulab made landfall in the Bay of Bengal on September 26 and affected coastal districts in south Odisha and north Andhra Pradesh.
Road connectivity disrupted along Dwarakatirumala road in East Godavari
Road connectivity disrupted along Dwarakatirumala road in East Godavari
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Heavy rains lashed north coastal Andhra Pradesh under the impact of cyclonic storm Gulab, which has weakened into a deep depression after crossing the Andhra-Odisha coast, officials said on Monday, September 27. Northern coastal districts such as Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam and West Godavari have been experiencing heavy downpour accompanied by strong winds since Sunday night. Heavy rains inundated low-lying areas and strong winds with speeds reaching up to 40-60 kmph uprooted trees and electricity poles in the coastal districts.

Authorities remained on high alert to undertake rescue and relief operations in the affected areas. Teams from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) have reached north coastal Andhra, while naval ships and aircrafts are also on standby for rescue and relief operations in the areas likely to be affected by the cyclone. Andhra Deputy Chief Minister Dharmana Krishna Das, along with officials, visited some of the affected areas in Srikakulam district on Monday. He directed officials of all departments to remain alert in view of the heavy rains. Electricity supply to the entire district was also disrupted due to the storm.

Heavy rains also lashed Visakhapatnam city and several parts of the district, with water stagnation on roads cutting off connectivity to some villages. Chief Secretary Adityanath Das, who rushed to Visakhapatnam on Sunday night, reviewed the rescue and relief operations in the cyclone-affected areas. He also spoke to Srikakulam and Vizianagaram District Collectors over phone and enquired about the measures taken to deal with the situation.

Many fishermen were caught in the storm while at sea when Cyclone Gulab hit the coast on Sunday night. Six fishermen from Palasa were able to return safely to shore, with one sustaining an injury to his leg. However, one fisherman was killed in the storm.

Authorities in Srikakulam district shifted 1,500 people from low-lying areas to 30 relief camps, and control rooms have been set up in offices of district collector and district police superintendent. Meanwhile, West Godavari police authorities have arranged police pickets in flood zones in agency areas where transport connectivity has been disturbed. NDRF teams have started removing fallen trees which are obstructing movement in areas such as Gara, Etcherla and Ranastalam in Srikakulam. Electricity has also been disrupted in parts of the district, and as many as five water tanks in Madugula of Vishakapatanam were filled to capacity.

The agency areas in Vizianagaram too are witnessing heavy floods as many as 20 tribal villages in Pachipenta mandal along the Odisha border reportedly lost connectivity.

The  cyclone has also triggered rains in  East Godavari district. Low-lying areas were inundated in Kakinada, with rain water entering houses in some areas.

According to an India Meteorological Department (IMD) bulletin on Monday morning, Cyclone Gulab, which weakened into a deep depression, lay centered over south Odisha and adjoining north Andhra Pradesh about 110 km south-southeast of Jagdalpur (Chhattisgarh) and 140 km west-northwest of Kalingapatnam (Andhra Pradesh). It is likely to move nearly westwards and weaken further into a depression during the next 12 hours.

The IMD has forecast light to moderate rainfall at most places, with heavy to very heavy and extremely heavy rainfall at isolated places very likely over north coastal Andhra Pradesh, south Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Vidarbha. Heavy to very heavy falls at isolated places over south Odisha and heavy rainfall at isolated places over Rayalaseema are also likely.

Squally winds, with speeds reaching 45-55 kmph gusting to 65 kmph, are likely to prevail over north Andhra Pradesh and south Odisha districts during the next six hours and decrease thereafter.

As sea conditions will be rough to very rough, meteorologists have advised fishermen not to venture into sea for the next 12 hours.

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