“The storm over west central Bay of Bengal moved northwestwards with a speed of about 8 kmph during the last nine hours and lay centered 240 km southeast of Gopalpur. Under its influence, southern districts Ganjam, Gajapati, Malkanagiri, Koraput and Rayagada have already started to receive heavy rains,” Director of Bhubaneswar Meteorological Centre Sarat Sahu said.
Mr. Sahu said heavy to very heavy rainfall at one or two places in the districts of Khurda, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Nayagarh, Jajpur, Balasore, Bhadrak, Kendrapara, Cuttack, Dhenkanal and Maurbhanj was also expected during the day.
The Met Department also predicted squally wind speed reaching 80-90 kmph gusting to 130 kmph could prevail in some southern Odisha districts.
The State government issued advisory to general public not to travel along major roads passing through its five southern districts, those connecting Andhra Pradesh, from Sunday morning when the impact of very cyclone Hudhud would be maximum.
The decision was taken following a request from Andhra Pradesh government, which was of the view that travellers could be stranded due to uprooted trees on National Highways and inter-State roads. The five Odisha districts include Ganjam, Gajapati, Rayagada, Malkanagiri and Koraput. In fact, there were hardly any movement of traffic along roads in southern and several coastal districts.
According to Odisha Special Relief Commissioner 27,286 persons were shifted to 457 shelters in five districts. In Malkanagiri, 1,700 people belonging to primitive ‘Bonda’ Tribe were claimed to have been evacuated from Bonda hills.
The State government has deployed 26 units of National Disaster Response Force and Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force while kept two units in reserve.
Besides, BSNL towers have been kept ready at Chhatrapur and Malkanagiri. Towers will be immediately installed to restore communication after the storm crosses the State. About 1,200 skilled electrical personnel have also been positioned in Ganjam to restore power connection in affected areas.