Cyclone Gulab weakened into a deep depression over north Andhra Pradesh and is likely to continue to move West-Northwestwards, weakening further into a depression during the next six hours, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Monday.
At least three people were killed in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh as Cyclone Gulab made landfall in the coastal region of the two states on Sunday evening.
Officials said one person was swept away in Odisha's Ganjam district and two fishermen from the Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh were killed and another went missing, reports Hindustan Times.
The Cyclonic Storm 'Gulab' over north Andhra Pradesh and adjoining south Odisha, weakened into a Deep Depression at 0230 hrs IST of 27th Sep over north Andhra Pradesh. It is likely to continue to move west-northwestwards and weaken further into a depression during the next 06 hrs," IMD India tweeted at 4:15am.
An IMD official said that Cyclone Gulab made landfall at Miduguda and Tokali villages near Kalingapatnam town in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh. During the landfall, the wind speed of the cyclone at Kalingapatanam was about 90 kilometre per hour and it was 30kmph at Odisha's Gopalpur, he said.
Odisha's special relief commissioner PK Jena said on Sunday that more than 39,000 people, including 600 pregnant women, disabled and the elderly, were evacuated to safety before the cyclone's landfall, adding there was no such noticeable or remarkable damage in the state. Jena said many precautionary measures were taken to avoid any untoward incident. "Our officials are on high alert and visiting places to oversee the preparedness," he added.
Jena said the seven southern districts of Ganjam, Gajapati, Kandhamal, Rayagada, Koraput, Malkangiri and Nabarangpur have been put on high alert as the regions were vulnerable to landslides.
An official at the revenue and disaster management department said that the cyclone, the second one in four months after Yaas wreaked havoc in May in Odisha, apparently had less impact.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who is on a tour to New Delhi, reviewed the preparedness through a video conference and set a "zero casualty" target and told the authorities that every life is precious and should be protected at any cost. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also called up Patnaik and assured him of all support from the Centre to face the challenges posed by Cyclone Gulab.
As many as 42 teams of the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) and 24 squads of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), along with about 102 teams of fire brigade personnel, were deployed in seven districts. Besides, 11 fire service units, six teams of the ODRAF and eight of the NDRF are on standby for emergency purposes. The state also took special measures after the IMD warned of a tidal surge up to half a metre during landfall of the cyclone.
The East Coast Railway has cancelled 34 pairs of trains due to Cyclone Gulab and rescheduled 13 trains and diverted at least 17 trains so far, according to its bulletins. "In view of the forecast of heavy rain with cyclonic wind, all necessary precautions have been taken by ECoR," it said.
The South Central Railway informed in a release that eight trains on the Vijayawada-Howrah route were diverted via Kharagpur, Jharsuguda, Bilaspur and Balharshah. Two other trains that were supposed to begin the journey on Sunday, have been rescheduled for Monday.
The sea condition will be rough to very rough over the next two days and fishermen in Odisha, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh have been asked to not venture into east-central and adjoining the northeast Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea.