The Odisha government started evacuating people from low-lying areas in several coastal districts to safer places as cyclone Fani is likely to hit the State’s coast in Puri district on Friday evening.
It is likely to move north-northeastwards and cross the Odisha coast near Puri on May 3 evening with maximum sustained wind speed of 170-180 kmph and gusting up to 200 kmph, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) B P Sethi said.
The cyclone is being tracked by Doppler Weather Radars at Chennai, Vishakhapatnam and Machilipatnam, the SRC said.
As many as 25 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) along with State fire service personnel have been engaged in the evacuation exercise. Defence forces are on high alert to meet any eventuality.
The East Coast Railway has announced to run at least three special trains from Puri to West Bengal during the day. More than 80 trains had been cancelled between Bhadrak and Vizianagaram stations on Thursday.
14 districts in Odisha which are likely to be affected by the cyclone are Ganjam, Gajapati, Puri, Khurda, Nayagarh, Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Jajpur, Keonjhar, Bhadrak, Balasore and Mayurbhanj.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday appealed to the people to not panic, and cooperate with the administration in handling the situation.