Workers ride their bicycles to return home as dark clouds hover in the skies owing to Cyclone Asani, in Birbhum, Tuesday, May 10, 2022. (PTI Photo)
New Delhi: Severe Cyclone Asani weakened to a cyclonic storm on Wednesday as it barrelled towards north coastal Andhra Pradesh and came within 34 km of Narsapur in the state, packing wind speed of 85 km per hour and bringing heavy rains to the region, the weather office said here.
The weather system was expected to move away from the coast and further weaken into a depression by Thursday, it said.
It is very likely to move nearly northwards for next few hour and recurve slowly north-northeastwards along Narsapur, Yanam, Kakinada, Tuni and Visakhapatnam coasts during noon to evening on Wednesday and emerge into west central Bay of Bengal off North Andhra Pradesh coasts by night, the India Meteorological Department said in its national bulletin.
It is likely to weaken gradually into a depression by 12th May morning, it said.
The weather office has been monitoring the cyclonic storm since the first signs of its formation emerged last week. It has issued 30 national bulletins since May 7, predicting the track of the cyclone and alerting civic administrations about the possible damage it could cause.
The weather office had asked fishermen to suspend fishing operations in the region as sea condition is likely to be high over west central and adjoining northwest Bay of Bengal till Wednesday evening and very rough to rough over the same region thereafter Thursday.
It said storm surge of height about 0.5 m above astronomical tide is likely to inundate low lying areas of Krishna, East & West Godavari districts of Andhra Pradesh and Yanam of UT of Puducherry.
According to the weather office, the cyclone could damage thatched huts, cause minor damage to power and communication lines, harm paddy and other standing crops in Krishna, East and West Godavari, and Vishakhapatnam districts of Andhra Pradesh, and Yanam in Puducherry.
Cyclone Asani to come close to Vizag today
The severe cyclonic storm Asani changed track significantly and is likely to come close to the coast between Kakinada and Visakhapatnam, the weather office said on Tuesday evening.
The IMD issued a red alert to five districts — Guntur, Krishna, West Godavari, East Godavari and Visakhapatnam — which are very likely to be affected by extremely heavy rainfall on Wednesday. The system will move along Andhra Pradesh coast and weaken into a cyclonic storm.
Under its influence, heavy to very heavy rainfall (20 cm or above) is likely over Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram, Srikakulam, Anakapalle, Konaseema, Kakinada and East Godavari districts on Wednesday. These districts received good rains on Tuesday. Visakhapatnam city received 57 mm of rainfall during the day followed by Gajuwaka, which received 29 mm.
Asani is likely to weaken into a cyclonic storm by Wednesday morning and into a depression by Thursday (May 12) morning. Squally winds with a speed of 75-85 kmph gusting to 95 kmph are likely over and along the AP coast on Wednesday. Fishermen are advised not to venture into the sea for a couple of days.
The IMD also issued an orange alert for Prakasam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts, which implied that the authorities should be prepared to prevent possible disasters.
It warned of a sea surge of 0.5 metre high that is likely to inundate low-lying areas of Krishna, East and West Godavari and Visakhapatnam districts.
Meanwhile, all flights of Indigo (23 arrivals plus 23 departures), Air India (two arrivals and two departures) and those of Air Asia were cancelled on Tuesday, Director of Visakhapatnam International Airport said. All Indigo flights scheduled for Wednesday were also cancelled.
The Eastern Naval Command of the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard are on a high alert to launch relief and rescue operations in case the severe cyclone Asani affects the people in North Andhra and south coastal Odisha.
As part of the preparedness, 19 flood relief teams and six diving teams along with Gemini craft and associated gears have been kept ready at Visakhapatnam. Five Indian Navy ships are on a standby mission with relief material, diving and medical teams to render assistance in the most- affected areas along the coast of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.
Naval aircraft have been kept ready at Naval Air Stations, INS Dega at Visakhapatnam and INS Rajali near Chennai to undertake aerial survey of the most-affected areas. Casualty evacuation, if required, will be done, an ENC release said on Tuesday.