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Cyclone Fani expected to make landfall at Puri early on Friday

The Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm ‘FANI’ over West central & adjoining Northwest Bay of Bengal moved north-northeastwards with a speed of about 16 kmph in last six hours and lay centered at 0230 over Northwest & adjoining West central Bay of Bengal, about 150 km south-southwest of Puri (Odisha), about 80 km southeast of Gopalpur (Odisha), about 225 km northeast of Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh), and 450 km south-southwest of Digha (West Bengal).

After the landfall the system is very likely to continue to move north-northeastwards, weaken gradually and emerge into Gangetic West Bengal as a Severe Cyclonic Storm with wind speed of 90-100 Kmph gusting to 115 Kmph by early morning of 4th May.

As Cyclone Fani heads towards the eastern coast, the Indian Coast Guard has positioned 34 disaster relief teams at different spots and deployed four ships to handle any exigency.

Fani is billed as the most severe cyclonic storm since the super cyclone of 1999 that claimed close to 10,000 lives and left a trail of destruction in vast swathes of Odisha, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre. After crossing Odisha, the cyclone is likely to move towards West Bengal before tapering off. It is, however, still likely to impact parts of the northeast, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

Schools have been ordered closed and people asked to move to safer places. The government said that 10,000 villages and 52 towns located in 9 districts in Odisha will be affected. Also, the government has already taken action on evacuation. Around 900 cyclone shelters have been made ready to house the evacuees.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also keeping close tab on the situation. Prime Minister held a top level assessment meeting with the cabinet secretary, PM’s Principle Secretary, Home Secretary and Met dept, NDRF & NDMA officials on Thursday. PM Modi was given updates on the cyclone’s progress and administration’s preparedness to tackle the challenge.

The Prime Minister directed the officials to remain on top of the situation and keep in constant touch with state-level counterparts to best coordinate all measures.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik helmed a top level meet in Bhubaneswar by was also helmed where stress was laid on taking all measures to deal with the cyclone’s impact..Leaves of state health dept officials have been cancelled till the 15th of this month.

The met department has warned that most coastal and even inland areas of Southern Odisha are likely to be hit by heavy rains. Torrential rains were expected on Friday in all 11 districts of the state..

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