By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, October 10, 2018: The Odisha government on Wednesday has evacuated around three lakh people in five coastal districts of the state, as Cyclone Titli over the Bay of Bengal intensified into a “very severe cyclonic storm”.

Titli is expected to make a landfall in between Gopalpur in Odisha and Kalingapatnam in Andhra Pradesh along the eastern coast Thursday morning, the Indian Meteorological Department Director, H R Biswas told said Wednesday.

After the landfall, the cyclonic storm is likely to maintain the intensity throughout Thursday while moving northeastwards across Odisha. Biswas said rainfall would be accompanied by gale wind speed reaching 140 to 150 kmph and gusting to 165 kmph along and off Odisha and north Andhra Pradesh coasts

Chief minister Naveen Patnaik reviewed the situation on Wednesday and asked the collectors of Ganjam, Puri, Khurda, Kendrapara and Jagtsinghpur districts to start immediate evacuation of people in the low-lying areas in the coastal belt, the sources said.

He also asked the authorities to ensure “zero casualty” and keep the cyclone shelters ready for housing the people.

Patnaik also ordered closure of all schools, colleges and anganwadi centres on Thursday and Friday in view of IMD’s forecast of heavy to very heavy rainfall across the state.

The college student union elections, earlier scheduled to be held on Thursday, have been cancelled.

In view of cyclonic storm Titli gaining strength, the fishermen have been advised not to venture into west-central and north Bay of Bengal. Those, who are out in deep sea areas are advised to return to the coast immediately, officials said.

There may be damage in the districts of Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram, and Srikakulam of Andhra Pradesh and Gajapati, Ganjam, Khurda, Nayagarh, and Puri districts of Odisha, officials said.

The cyclonic storm is being monitored by the coastal doppler weather radars at Visakhapatnam, Gopalpur and Paradip, the IMD said.

The storm surge of the height of about one metre above astronomical tide is very likely to inundate low-lying areas in Andhra Pradesh’s Srikakulam district, and Odisha’s Ganjam, Khurda and Puri districts at the time of landfall.

Eight trains have been cancelled and the Khorda to Vijayanagaram section has been closed to trains.

The National Disaster Response Force has been deployed in six districts Gajapati, Puri, Kendrapada, Nayagarh, Bhadrak and Jajpur, the state’s Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force deployed in Ganjam, Jagatsinghpur, Khordha, Cuttack, Balasore, Mayurbhanj and Kalahandi.

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