Balasore (Odisha), May 26 (MNN) Even as very severe cyclonic storm ‘Yaas’ hit coastal Odisha 20 km south of Balasore on Wednesday morning, the IMD said that it was centered near north Odisha around 7.30 pm. At least four persons died and nearly five lakh have been evacuated by rescue officials.
The storm had an estimated wind speed of 70-80 kmph gusting to 90 kmph, the IMD tweeted.
Then, it moved northwest-wards and was centered about 15 km south-southwest of Balasore at 11.30 am, the India Meteorological Department added.
Around 10.30 am, it tweeted: “Landfall process is continuing. It will take around three hours to complete. 30 km south-southeast of Balasore at 0930 hours IST.”
National Disaster Response Foce Director General Satya Narayan Pradhan tweeted pictures of NDRF men involved in removing fallen trees to clear roads in Tihidi in Bhadrak district of Odisha.
In the evening, the Indian government said that extensive pre-emptive measures taken by Indian Coast Guard (ICG) on the eastern seaboard and Andaman and Nicobar Islands bore fruit in saving lives and property.
ICG ensured the safe return of 265 fishing boats which were out at sea as the threat loomed large even as its air cushion vehicle rescued about 100 people stranded at Nayachara in West Bengal.
The ICG disaster response team also assisted in evacuation of locals at Contai.
Ships at anchorage off Odisha and West Bengal coasts had taken steps to safety even as Single Point Mooring (SPM) operations were suspended.
No report of any damage or loss was received from any merchant ship, the Indian government said.
All ashore, afloat and aviation units of ICG are maintaining a high state of readiness on the eastern seaboard for any response measures arising in the aftermath of the storm.
Three ICG ships, which were strategically positioned at sea for possible search and rescue missions, are approaching Odisha and West Bengal coast for carrying out situational assessment in the coastal areas while also sanitising the area.
On West Bengal government’s request, ICG deployed its Disaster Relief Teams (DRT) at Digha and Contai for assistance.
Other ICG DRTs with inflatable boats, life buoys and lifejackets are also standing by across West Bengal and Odisha and would be deployed as per the state requirements.
Medical teams and ambulances have also been kept on standby for swift mobilisation.
A close liaison and coordination with state administration, local authorities, ports, oil rig operators, shipping, fisheries authorities, fishermen associations and other stakeholders has also been ensured to ensure safety of boats, vessels, fixed platforms and other assets.
Earlier in the morning, the NDRF men were also involved in evacuation of persons from low-lying and inundated areas in 24 Parganas district of neighbouring West Bangal.
On Tuesday, the IMD had predicted that ‘Yaas’ will intensify as a very severe cyclonic storm on Wednesday and expected to make landfall near Dhamra in Bhadrak district of Odisha.
“It will intensify further and cross north Odisha-West Bengal coasts close to north of Dhamra and south of Balasore, during May 26 noon as a very severe cyclonic storm,” the India Meteorological Department said.
“It will intensify further and cross north Odisha-West Bengal coasts between Paradip and Sagar Islands during May 26 as a very severe cyclonic storm.”
“It is very likely to cross north Odisha-West Bengal coasts between Paradip and Sagar islands close to north of Dhamra and south of Balasore on Wednesday noon as a very severe cyclonic storm.”
As a result, scattered heavy to very heavy rainfall with isolated extremely heavy falls over Odisha was predicted on May 25 and 26.
Isolated heavy to very heavy with extremely heavy rainfall over Gangetic West Bengal was likely on May 26; Jharkhand on May 26 and 27 and Bihar on May 27.
The IMD said southwest monsoon had further advanced into some parts of Maldives-Comorin area; some more parts of southwest and southeast Bay of Bengal on May 25.
The department said sea condition is high to very high over west-central and adjoining east-central and north Bay of Bengal.
Tidal waves of 2-4 metres high above astronomical tide are likely to inundate low-lying areas of Medinipur, Balasore, Bhadrak and about two meters above astronomical tide are likely to inundate low-lying areas of South 24 Parganas.
Fishermen were advised not to venture into central Bay of Bengal till May 26 forenoon and into north Bay of Bengal and along and off north Andhra Pradesh-Odisha-West Bengal–Bangladesh coasts during May 25 and 26.