|An official of Bhubaneswar Met office analyses the formation of the depression and its movement over Bay of Bengal
' The depression was 1100km east of southeast Paradip at 8.30am on Wednesday. It is likely to cross the Andaman coast near Mayabunder island and intensify into a cyclonic storm '
-- Sarat Chandra Sahu, regional Met director
Bhubaneswar, Oct. 9: A cyclone warning has forced many here to skip Puja shopping and rush to store food items and other bare essentials.
Signs of an impending disaster have already started showing with heavy rain lashing various parts of the state since last evening.
Memories of the 1999 super cyclone, when the city had plunged into darkness for more than 42 hours, are haunting them.
“We are buying dry food, potatoes and other vegetables, candles and kerosene to meet an emergency-like situation, which we had encountered almost 15 years ago. It was impossible to come out of home because of intermittent rain and gusty wind. This time, we want to stay prepared,” said Pramod Tripathy, a retired government employee.
The prevailing weather conditions have cast a shadow on the various Puja committees that have erected huge pandals. Chairman of the Nayapalli puja committee Pabitra Mohan Behera said: “We are feeling let down. Since all pandals are carved out of bamboos and thermocol, we fear a cyclonic storm will raze them to the ground. People will also prefer to stay at home even if it drizzles.”
|Cloud over Sri Jagannath Temple in Puri
Another Puja committee member in Rasulgarh Jagannath Pradhan said he hoped Goddess Durga would “slay” the approaching cyclone.
“We have faith in the goddess. Now we are praying that the cyclonic system is weakened and the Puja fervour stays unaffected,” he said.
The cyclone warning has also sent panic waves among traders in Market Building area. “We had procured different wares, accessories and clothes for the Puja, but the storm prediction will surely hamper our business prospects. Similarly, roadside vendors will also suffer huge losses if shoppers do not step out of their homes,” said Sarat Panda, a businessman in Market Building area.
The Telegraph spoke to regional Met director Sarat Chandra Sahu to decode the weather conditions and what to expect over the next few days:
Where is the depression now?
It has turned into a deep depression and was 1100km east of southeast Paradip at 8.30am on Wednesday. It is likely to move in west, north-west direction and while crossing the Andaman coast near Mayabunder island, it may intensify into a cyclonic storm.
When will it hit land?
It is likely to cross north Andhra Pradesh and Odisha coast between Kalingapatnam and Paradip on October 12 night (Ashtami).
What will be the impact of this cyclonic storm on the twin cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack?
Depends on where it crosses the coast and its intensity. There will be rainfall, but not as much as in Gopalpur and adjoining areas. We will observe it once it reaches the centre of Bay of Bengal.
Will it be as devastating as the super cyclone of 1999?
Wind speed during the super cyclone was 252km per hour. But this one, tentatively named as Phailin (pronounced Pi Lin, it’s a Thai name meaning sapphire), will have a wind speed of 175km to185km per hour. It will be powerful enough to uproot trees, electric poles and telephone lines. Needless to say, there will be heavy rainfall. We are sending messages to the railway and airport authorities, too.
Would you advise people not to step out of home?
Definitely. They should avoid venturing outside after October 11 afternoon (Saptami). We have already advised fishermen in deep sea to return back to the coast. The cyclone position may come closer and locate in the central Bay by Wednesday night. We have also cautioned port authorities.
What will be the temperatures like during the cyclonic storm?
The day temperatures will around 28°C to 30°C in most places. At night, it will drop to 20°C to 22°C.
When will the weather become normal?
We will be able to predict once it crosses the coast.
When will monsoon withdraw from the state?
It will be delayed. So far, it has not withdrawn from northwest part of India. Maybe, after this cyclonic system weakens, we will get to know.