Visakhapatnam: The very severe cyclonic storm Titli carrying 165 kmph winds and heavy rain slammed into the Srikakulam coast before dawn on Thursday, leaving seven persons dead and a swathe of destruction in its wake in the district and in Vizianagaram.
Cyclone Titli made its landfall between 4.30 am and 5.30 am at a place between Palle Saradhi and Gollapadu of Vajrapukottur mandal in Srikakulam district, about 195 km from Visakhapatnam. with wind speed between 155 kmph and 165 kmph.
The wind was blowing at about 150 kmph all through the night, and eased up after the cyclone crossed the coast and headed northwest on land.
It is expected to curve northeastwards again towards the Gangetic West Bengal across Odisha, but losing power all the while.
The cyclone wreaked havoc in Ganjam and Gajapati districts of Odisha, but the evacuation of about 3 lakh people ensured there were no fatalities.
The cyclone caused widespread damage in the coastal areas of Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts of north Andhra Pradesh and in Odisha. Thousands of coconut trees were uprooted. A curfew-like situation prevailed at many parts in Srikakulam district, particularly in the district headquarters on Thursday morning with people confining themselves to their houses to protect themselves from the howling winds and pelting rain outside.
Communications to Srikakulam and within the district were disrupted and bus services were stopped due to the cyclone.
Sigh of relief for Vizagites
Vizagites woke up to with a sense of relief on Thursday after learning that Cyclone Titli had hit about 200 km away in Srikakulam district and the city had escaped damage.
Almost to the day four years ago — October 12, 2014 — super cyclone Hudhud devastated Vizag, the people feared that Titli could cause some damage to the port city.
The IMD and the government reiterated tht Cyclone Titli would not hit Vizag but the people, wiser by experience and fearing last-minute turns in the cyclone’s path, cancelled non-essential trips, stored water and groceries and stayed home.
Fishermen followed instructions to not venture out into the sea. Beach road was completely deserted. IndiGo cancelled three flights to Bengaluru and Hyderabad as a precautionary measure. Airport officials said no other airline cancelled flights, a couple of flights were delayed due to bad weather.