Andhra on alert as cyclone threatens coast

November 15th, 2008 - 5:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, Nov 15 (IANS) An alert was sounded in the coastal region of Andhra Pradesh as cyclone Khai Muk over Bay of Bengal threatened to hit the coast Saturday evening, officials said.The state government directed the officials in all nine coastal districts to be on alert and take necessary steps to evacuate the people from areas near the coast and also the low-lying places.

According to Visakhapatnam Cyclone Warning Centre, the storm lay centred about 230 km southeast of Machilipatnam.

It is likely to move in a northwesterly direction and cross the Andhra coast between Bapatla and Kakinada, near Machilipatnam.

Officials warned that under the influence of the cyclone, heavy to very heavy rainfall was likely over coastal Andhra Pradesh during the next 24 hours. Gale winds with a speed of 75 km to 85 km are likely along and off Andhra Pradesh coast between Ongole and Visakhapatnam.

The centre predicted one to two metre high tidal waves at the time of the storm hitting the coast. The authorities have hoisted warning signals on all ports along the Andhra coast and warned fishermen against venturing into the sea.

Krishna district authorities have urged people to evacuate to areas near the coast. State-run Road Transport Corporation is operating buses to ferry people to safe places.

It started raining in some parts of Krishna and Guntur districts Saturday morning.

Machilipatnam, which is the administrative centre of Krishna district, and Kakinada are on high alert.

Andhra Pradesh has a 1,000 km long coast along the Bay of Bengal and was prone to floods and cyclones.

The worst cyclone in the region hit in 1977 killing about 10,000 people and rendering over three million homeless.

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