The Andhra Pradesh government has said that they are on alert as Cyclone Amphan is passing by the state's coast in the Bay of Bengal. The state said that preparations were made in the north coastal districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Tuesday issued a fresh cyclone alert for West Bengal and north Odisha coasts as Amphan, categorised as an âextremely severe cyclonic stormâ, is expected to cross between Digha in West Bengal and Hatia Islands in Bangladesh, close to the Sundarbans, on May 20. The IMD has issued an orange alert for coastal West Bengal and Odisha, where it said widespread damage is expected.
Cyclone Amphan is now being continuously tracked by the Doppler Weather Radar (DWR) at Visakhapatnam. The Cyclone Warning Centre of Visakhapatnam also issued a weather warning for fishermen and said that on May 19, gusty wind speeds of 45 to 50 kmph which could later rise to 60 kmph were expected off the coast of Andhra Pradesh.
The fishermen are advised not to venture out at sea and local cautionary signals were hoisted at Kalingapatnam, Bheemunipatnam, Visakhapatnam, Machilipatnam, Nizampatnam, Vadarevu and Krishnapatnam besides Kakinada and Gangavaram.
In a statement, Andhra Pradesh Tourism Minister Avanthi Srinivas said that the government is ready to tackle the situation, and teams of police and the National Disaster Rescue Force (NDRF) were on standby.
He added, âFishermen are not venturing into the sea as it is not the fishing season at present. Still, they are advised not to venture into the sea at the local level and any remaining boats in the sea will be brought back to the shores. Arrangements have also been made for the people living along the coast areas to be moved to storm shelters if necessary.â
The IMD has also issued a five-day alert for Andhra Pradesh which says, "Thunderstorm accompanied by winds (30-40 kmph) and lightning possible to occur at isolated places."
Meanwhile, the IMD has advised a complete shutdown of shipping and boating activities in the vulnerable parts of West Bengal and Odisha till May 20.
Rerouting or shutting down of rail and road traffic is also advised in the areas in the wake of cyclone conditions. To provide instant help in West Bengal, a total of 19 teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are deployed, and four teams are on standby. In Odisha, 13 teams are deployed and 17 are on standby.
With IANS inputs