Hyderabad, May 18: The administration in Andhra Pradesh’s coastal region Tuesday went on high alert and National Disaster Response Force was called in for rescue operations as the cyclonic storm Laila intensified and is likely to cross the coast between Visakhapatnam and Ongole early Thursday.
Second warning signals have been hoisted at all Andhra ports as the depression over the Bay of Bengal turned into a cyclonic storm and lay centred 550 km south-southeast of Visakhapatnam.
It is likely to cross the coast between Ongole and Visakhapatnam by early hours of May 20.
“Under the influence of this system, north coastal Tamil Nadu and coastal Andhra Pradesh are likely to experience widespread rainfall with scattered heavy to very heavy falls (25 cms or more) and isolated extremely heavy falls during next 48 hours,” said a bulletin issued by the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
Strong gales with speed reaching 65-75 km an hour are likely to commence along and off Andhra Pradesh coast Tuesday night. It may increase to 115-125 kmph at the time of landfall early Wednesday mroning.
Since the sea condition will also be rough, the fishermen have been advised not to venture into the sea.
The state government has called in the National Disaster Response Force from Tamil Nadu and Bhubaneshwar for rescue operations.
The force from Bhubaneshwar will be stationed at Visakhapatnam to look after the rescue operations in the districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam and East Godavari, said a statement from the Chief Minister’s Office.
The personnel from Arakonam, Tamil Nadu, will be stationed at Vijayawada to look after the rescue operations in the districts of West Godavari, Krishna, Guntur, Prakasam and Nellore.
The official machinery in all the nine coastal districts has been asked to be on high alert. Leave of employees has been cancelled till May 25. Those on leave have been asked to report back immediately.
Minister for Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation D. Prasada Rao told reporters here that the leave of employees, especially in departments like disaster management, revenue, police, fire services, electricity, roads and buildings and Panchayat Raj, has been cancelled.
Chief Minister K. Rosaiah directed the district collectors to take all preventive measures to minimise the loss of life and property. He asked them to be ready for evacuating to safer places the people likely to be affected.
A sub-committee of top officials will be formed immediately for round-the-clock monitoring of the situation. The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has also issued cyclonic storm advisory, asking the state government to keep a close watch and take appropriate precautionary measures.
Following the advisory, control rooms have been opened at the state secretariat and at all district headquarters.
The chief minister asked the officials to be ready with alternative steps for effective communication in case there is damage to communication network.