Deadly Cyclone Phethai makes landfall in India

At least two people confirmed dead and thousands displaced in Andhra Pradesh state.

Cyclone Phethai
Commuters in Kolkata protect themselves from the heavy rain caused by the remnants of Cyclone Phethai [Piyal Adhikary/EPA]

Cyclone Phethai made landfall near Katrenikona in India’s Andhra Pradesh state, lashing the coast with heavy rains and wind.

The warm waters of the Bay of Bengal aided in the storm strengthening into a severe cyclone – the equivalent of a strong tropical storm in the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean – over the weekend prior to making landfall.

The outer bands of the storm began to bring rain to northern Andhra Pradesh and southern Orissa on Sunday with rainfall totals of 25-75 millimetres.

“We have evacuated about 11,600 people in Gajapati district as their houses are yet to be repaired after Cyclone Titli in October this year,” a senior official at the Special Relief Commissioner’s office said.

Coastal areas in Andhra Pradesh were battered with heavy rains Monday, leaving several trees and electric poles uprooted. At the time of landfall, winds were recorded to be gusting to 120 kilometres per hour. At least two people were reported to have died.

According to the India Meteorological Department, Ninnimamidivalasa in the city of Visakhapatnam received 156.6mm of rain, followed by Pachipenta with 136mm. 

Cyclone Phethai started weakening once it made landfall but the heavy rainfall is expected to continue into Bangladesh and East Bengal.  These areas can expect rainfall amounts of 50-100mm with locally higher amounts possible.

There is another cyclonic circulation over the Bay of Bengal between Sri Lanka and West Sumatra moving northwestward. It may pose another threat late week for southern India.

Source: Al Jazeera