Thursday, May 20, 2010

Cyclone Laila weakens slightly, Andhra, Tamil Nadu still on alert

The latest report by the Meteorological department says that Cyclone Laila is weakening slightly.

Even though the windfall is expected only in the evening, the waves and the winds have already caused extensive damage in coastal districts like Nellore, where trees have been uprooted, cars smashed and roads damaged. Even communication and power supplies have been disrupted.

Laila is expected to hit Andhra Pradesh coast this evening with a wind speed of 120 kilometers per hour. The Meteorological department has warned of six-foot high tidal waves.

The cyclone is currently centered along the Andhra coast, from Nellore to Vishakhapatnam. It may cross Andhra Pradesh coast between Kavali and Kakinada. Tidal waves are likely to inundate the coastal areas of Guntur, Krishna and West and East Godavari districts of Andhra Pradesh at the time of landfall.

Both Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are bracing themselves to face the wrath of the tropical cyclone.

Thousands of people have been people have been evacuated from low-lying areas and armed forces have been asked to help the civil administration in rescue efforts.

"Collectors have already begun to evacuate people. There are helicopters also. The Navy, Army etc and also the Central government is going to help us. Apart from helicopters, they wanted some power boats as well. Arrangements are being made," said Geeta Reddy, Minister for Information and Tourism of Andhra Pradesh.

Heavy rainfall of up to 25 cm is expected in the coastal districts. So the administration is keeping a watch on vulnerable structures like bridges and culverts.

The government has also put in place protocols and standard procedures for cyclone preparedness to minimise loss of life and property.

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