The South Central Railway has cancelled over 50 trains in coastal Andhra Pradesh in view of severe cyclonic storm Phethai, which is set to hit the coast near Kakinada on Monday afternoon. Many trains from Vijayawada to various destinations in coastal Andhra were suspended as a precautionary measure.
The Visakhapatnam-Guntur Simhadri Express, Guntur-Visakhapatnam Simhadri Express, Visakhapatnam-Vijayawada Ratnachalam Express, Vijayawada-Visakhapatnam Ratnachalam Express, Narsapur-Nidadavolu Link Express and Nidadavolu-Narsapu Link Express were among the trains cancelled.
Passenger trains between Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam, Rajahmundry, Guntur and Bhimavaram were also cancelled.
Mainline Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) passenger trains between Vijayawada and destinations like Rajahmundry, Kakinada Port, Tenali, Bhimavaram, Guntur and Machilipatnam, MEMU trains between Rajahmundry and Visakhapatnam, Visakhapatnam and Kakinada Port, Tenali and Guntur, Visakhapatnam and Rajahmundry, Rajahmundry and Bhimavaram, Bhimavaram and Nidadavolu, Rajahmundry and Narasapur and Narasapur and Guntur were also cancelled.
The other cancelled trains include Kakinada Port-Kotipalli Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) passenger, Kotipalli-Kakinada Port DMU passenger, Machilipatnam-Gudivada, Bhimavaram-Rajahmundry, Nidadavolu-Bhimavaram, Ongole-Guntur passenger trains.
Vinod Kumar Yadav, General Manager, South Central Railway directed officials of divisions likely to be affected to be prepared to handle any emergency situation. Helplines were opened at Vijayawada, Guntur and Guntakal station for round-the-clock monitoring of the situation.
Meanwhile, heavy rains lashed several areas in Andhra Pradesh on Monday. While areas like Nizampatnam mandal in Guntur district received 26 mm as of 10 am, areas like Allavaram and Uppalaguptam mandals in East Godavari district received 26.25 mm and 25.50 mm.
Andhra government braces for impact
Meanwhile, the Andhra Pradesh government took several precautions, with all disaster management teams being asked to be on full alert from early morning tomorrow. Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu said that he was holding teleconferences and also ordered the lifting of paddy from the threshing floor at areas like Nadipudi village in Amalapuram mandal, to prevent crop loss.
The State Disaster Response Force (SRDF) and National Disaster Response Force have been kept on standby in parts of the coastal region, especially Krishna district. An alert was also sounded in all nine coastal districts in the state.
According to Visakhapatnam Cyclone Warning Centre, 'Phethai' will intensify further into a severe cyclonic storm over the next few hours and weaken slightly before making a landfall on Monday afternoon.
The Cyclone Warning Centre has warned that a storm surge of up to one metre could inundate the low-lying areas of Visakhapatnam, East Godavari, West Godavari, Krishna and Guntur districts of coastal Andhra Pradesh and Yanam district of Puducherry at the time of landfall.
Fishermen have been advised not to venture into the sea.