Cyclone Phailin battering India, turns deadly – 600,000 people evacuated, 12 million people likely to be affectedPosted by Jim at Saturday, October 12, 2013
By Eric Leister, Meteorologist
12 October 2013
(AccuWeather) – Tropical Cyclone Phailin has made landfall in northeastern India, where a catastrophe threatens to unfold and deaths are already being reported.
Destructive winds well over 160 kph (100 mph) and flooding rain of at least 100-200 mm (4-8 inches) is expected across a wide area. There will be a crippling storm surge of 4-6 meters (14-20 feet) near the landfall point of Phailin.
The India Meteorological Department confirmed that Phailin made landfall in Gopalpur Saturday evening with winds over 200 kph (125 mph).
For much of Friday night into early Saturday afternoon, Phailin had been the equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane or super typhoon, but the storm slightly weakened prior to reaching land.
Now onshore, Phailin will continue to weaken as it tracks northwestward through northeastern India. Phailin remains an extremely dangerous storm with severe impacts to lives and property, despite the weakening trend.
Torrential rain, capable of triggering life-threatening flooding, will accompany Phailin across northeastern India through Monday. Mudslides are also a concern in the higher terrain.
As Phailin weakens, so will its destructive winds.
Phailin has already been blamed for several deaths, but there are conflicting reports as to the exact number.
Local police in the Indian state of Odisha told CNN-IBN, CNN's sister network in India, that trees downed by Phailin's strong winds killed seven people.
CNN and Reuters are reporting a total of three deaths. [more]
By Mandakini Gahlot, Special for USA TODAY
12 October 2013
NEW DELHI (USA TODAY) – A gigantic cyclone, one of the strongest ever to hit the Bay of Bengal, pounded India's eastern cost with heavy winds and rain Saturday, as more than half a million people fled the region.
The Indian government reported three people died as hundreds of trees were uprooted before the eye of the storm even made landfall early evening local time. Flights, trains and shipping operations were canceled and power shut down in six districts in the coastal area.
The India Meteorological Department said the cyclone made landfall near Gopalpur, India, with sustained winds of 124 mph — equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane.
Cyclone Phailin caused one of the largest evacuation operations in Indian history, with 600,000 people moved to higher ground in the coastal state of Odisha, which is expected to bear the brunt of the storm.
Electricity had been cut off in the entire state as a precaution, said Indian navy retired commodore A.K Patnaik, in Bhubaneshwar, the capital of Odisha, who was reached by phone before he shut it down to conserve power.
"It has been raining very heavily here since yesterday, the streets are flooded, and electricity was shut down this morning," he said. "The streets are empty, everyone is indoors, and people stocked up on groceries and essentials yesterday."
Satellite images showed the cyclone filling nearly the entire Bay of Bengal, an area larger than France that has seen the majority of the world's worst recorded storms, including a 1999 cyclone that killed 10,000.
"The storm has the potential to cause huge damage," L.S. Rathore, director-general of the Indian Meteorlogical Department told reporters. […]
More than 60,000 people from the low-lying areas of neighboring Andhra Pradesh state had been evacuated. The sea has already pushed inland as much as 130 feet in parts of that state, officials said. [more]
NEW DELHI, 12 October 2013 (Press Trust of India) – Cyclone Phailin is expected to affect around 1.2 crore [12 million] people in more than five states, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said on Friday.
Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami chaired a meeting of national executive council of NDMA meeting on Friday evening to coordinate preparedness for cyclone.
"We are better prepared than in Uttarakhand disaster. Windspeed as per latest bulletin is going to be more than initial prediction," NDMA chief M Shashidhar Reddy said.
He said 20,000 people in Srikakulam and 40,000 in Vishakapattnam have been evacuated. Medical teams of Union Health Ministry are also getting ready to travel to the two states in short notice. The other regions which are expected to be affected by the cyclone include North Chhattisgarh, South Jharkhand, Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and gangetic West Bengal.
Mr Reddy said authorities have to gear up to a situation where a lot of damage can be expected, crops, roads, houses are expected to be affected.
The Centre, on Friday, assured all help to Odisha and Andhra Pradesh where the "very severe" cyclone is expected to hit today and sent nearly 500 personnel of National Disaster Response Force for relief and rescue operations.
Mr Reddy said they are in regular touch with the state governments and have deployed 23 teams of NDRF with all equipment to assist the local administration and five more teams of NDRF are kept at standby.
"The Prime Minister is travelling abroad and he has assured that Government of India will offer all help and support to affected state governments," he told reporters.
Mr Reddy said rains have started in parts of Andhra Pradesh and the biggest cyclone in years to hit the east coast, Cyclone Phailin, with winds gusting up to 220 kmph today.
"Extra teams of NDRF with man-power and equipment have been deployed. We are ready to provide whatever help the state government asks for. We have also appealed to people to be ready for evacuation in short notice," he said.