Heavy rains lash Andhra as cyclone moves towards Vizag

Visakhapatnam (IANS): Heavy rains with squally winds Sunday lashed coastal Andhra Pradesh, disrupting transport, snapping electricity and communication as cyclonic storm Hudhud is moving towards Visakhapatnam city.

Heavy rains since Saturday evening have inundated low-lying areas in Visakhapatnam city and surrounding areas. People were evacuated to safer places, officials said.

Strong gales uprooted trees, disrupting vehicular transport. Several areas including industrial zone of Gajuwaka on the outskirts plunged into darkness as electricity lines were snapped.

‘Very severe cyclonic storm’ in Bay of Bengal is lying about 100 km southeast of Visakhapatnam. It will make a landfall close to Visakhapatnam around Sunday noon, said a bulletin by India Meteorological Department issued Sunday morning.

Authorities in north coastal Andhra Pradesh comprising Srikakulam, Vijayanagaram and Visakhapatnam districts and adjoining coastal districts of east and west Godavari are on high alert as the cyclone is likely to cause massive destruction.

Nearly 400,000 people have been evacuated to relief camps in five districts.

The government has appealed to people in the districts to remain indoors or move to safer places including cyclone shelters and relief camps for their safety.

The Met Office has warned that at the time of landfall, gale winds with speed up to 170-180 km per hour gusting to 195 km per hour will prevail along and off the coast. It has also forecast heavy to very heavy rains in the five districts and in southern Odisha over next two days.