Coastal Andhra on alert as ‘Roanu’ triggers heavy rains

Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh), May 19 (IANS) Authorities in coastal Andhra Pradesh went on alert on Thursday as rains continue to lash the state under the impact of cyclonic storm ‘Roanu’ over the Bay of Bengal.

The system, over west central Bay of Bengal remained practically stationary and lay centred at about 80 km south southeast of Machilipatinam, the met office said.

The system is likely to intensify into a severe cyclonic storm by Thursday night. It is likely to move north northeastwards along the Andhra coast and cross south Bangladesh coast on May 21-22.

The Visakhapatnam Cyclone Warning Centre has forecast heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places in coastal Andhra over next two days. Extremely heavy rainfall is also likely at isolated places.

The met office has also forecast heavy to very heavy rains at isolated places in Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh and also in Telangana.

As squally wind with speed of 90-100 km per hour is likely along the coast and the sea condition may be rough, it advised fishermen not to venture into the sea.

Local warning signal IV was kept hoisted at Machilipatnam, Krishnapatnam and Vodarevu ports in south coastal Andhra and also at Kakinada, Visakhapatnam, Gangavaram, Kalingapatnam and Bheemunipatnam in north coastal Andhra.

Parts of coastal Andhra have been receiving heavy rains since Wednesday. For the second day, Nellore district received heavy rains with gales. Heavy rains were also lashing Prakasam, Krishna, East Godavari, West Godavari, Visakhapatnam and Vijayanagaram districts.

The rains inundated low-lying areas and disrupted vehicular traffic. Strong winds uprooted trees and fell electricity and communication towers.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, from his residence in Guntur district, held a teleconference with district collectors and directed them to be on alert. He asked officials to evacuate people from vulnerable areas and set up relief camps wherever necessary.

Five teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), comprising 500 personnel with life saving equipment have already been deployed for rescue and relief operations. Teams of State Disaster Response Force were also on standby at various places, said an official statement.

A state-level control room has been set up here. Control rooms have been opened in all district headquarters.

The chief minister asked officials to ensure sufficient stocks of food and essential commodities for relief work.

–IANS

ms/vd

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