Guwahati: India is bracing for a significant tropical cyclone later this week. Cyclone ‘Fani’, which is currently moving at wind speeds of up to 175 kmph, could be the strongest storm to strike the country’s coastline in almost five years, some reports said.
As per reports by the Indian meteorological department, ‘Fani’ is located in the Bay of Bengal, roughly 500 km east of Chennai, and rapidly intensifying and strengthening throughout the week and heading its track toward eastern India and Bangladesh.
According to forecasts, ‘Fani’ may reach wind speeds of up to 215 km per hour (135 mph) before it hits the coast of India.
Researchers and Met department officials are also projecting that the strength of the cyclonic storm may intensity to a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale.
As Fani approaches the coast of India it will be moving nearly parallel to the coast. A slight move to the east or west would have a significant impact on the timing of landfall as well as the intensity. If that happens, the storm would likely to be a category 2 and weaker as it moves over cooler waters.
If ‘Fani’ reaches the coast equivalent to a major hurricane (winds greater than 175 kph or 110 mph) it will bring a large storm surge of several metres and significant wind damage near the landfall location.
If the storm weakens, it may reduce the damage from winds and storm surge, but flooding would remain a concern.
In the wake of severity of the cyclonic storm, defence forces have been put on high alert to handle any kind of untoward situation. Indian Navy has stationed two ships at Visakhapatnam and Chennai carrying expert divers and doctors. Aircraft of the naval forces are also in a state of readiness at locations for emergency services.
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has deployed 41 teams in Andhra Pradesh, 28 in Odisha, and five in West Bengal. In addition to it, the NDRF is keeping 13 teams on standby in West Bengal and 10 in Andhra Pradesh.
Meanwhile, the IMD has issued its ‘yellow’ warning putting into total suspension of fishing activities, extensive evacuation of coastal areas, diversions of road and rail traffic. It has also asked the people residing in the alerted areas to stay indoors and advised against operation of boats and small ships in coastal regions.