Authorities in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha were on high alert on Thursday after the deep depression in the Bay of Bengal transformed into a cyclonic storm causing heavy rains and high-velocity winds in the two states. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said cyclonic storm Roanu is likely to continue to move north-northeastwards along and off Andhra Pradesh coast during next 12 hours and northeastwards after that. It is likely to intensify into a severe cyclonic storm by Thursday night. “The cyclonic storm is likely to head northeastward causing heavy rain in southern and northern parts of Odisha, SC Sahu, IMD’s regional director in Bhubaneswar, said. It is expected to make landfall at Bangladesh in the next 48 hours. The Cyclonic Warning Centre in Visakhapatnam said Roanu, that spared Chennai from heavy rains, is located at around 100 km off Machilipatnam coast in Andhra Pradesh’s Krishna district. Coastal Andhra has been experiencing heavy rainfall at most places and isolated extremely heavy rainfall of more than 21 cms is expected over north coastal Andhra during next 48 hours. Kakinada in East Godavari district has already witnessed a record rainfall of 17.4 cm in the last 24 hours, which is said to be the highest in the last 10 years. This is followed by Bapatla in Guntur district which recorded 13.4 cm rainfall. Heavy to very heavy rainfall is likely to occur at many places along coastal Odisha during the next 24 hours. The IMD said there could be extensive damage to thatched huts, power and communication lines and roads over coastal Andhra Pradesh during next 48 hours and over south coastal Odisha from Thursday night onwards. Fishermen were advised not to venture into sea along and off Andhra Pradesh coast next 48 hours, according to the IMD bulletin. States on alert Andhra chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu directed officials of the coastal districts that all steps be taken to minimise losses to property and see that there is no loss of lives. At least 15 fishermen, who ventured into deep sea from Nizampatnam harbour of Guntur district on Tuesday, have gone missing after the sea turned turbulent due to deep depression. Efforts by their relatives to contact them did not succeed and they immediately alerted local political leaders and officials. They, in turn, informed the coast guards and marine forces, who launched a search operation to locate them. Naidu’s counterpart in Odisha, Naveen Patnaik, also asked the administration of 12 coastal districts to be prepared for any eventuality in view of the cyclone alert in the state. Holding an emergency review meeting, Patnaik asked the officers not to grant leaves to government officials working in the districts and be fully alert. He also reviewed preparedness through video conferencing with all the district collectors. Officials said the fire brigade and 10 teams of Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) are ready for rescue and relief operation. “If necessary, more teams of ODRAF will be pressed into service, an official said. The ‘super cyclone’ of 1999 claimed around 10,000 lives, while the Cyclone Phailin and Cyclone Hudhud devastated several coastal areas in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

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