Strong winds and rain hit Puri ahead of the extremely severe cyclonic storm Fani making landfall in Puri district on Friday, May 3. Strong winds have also hit Bhubaneswar.
In the wake of the cyclonic storm, the Odisha administration has evacuated over 11 lakh people from the vulnerable districts since Thursday, May 2.
More than 3 lakh people have been evacuated from Ganjam district alone, followed by 1.3 lakh from Puri district where landfall is expected. About 5000 kitchens are operating to serve people in shelters.
Mritunjay Mohapatra, in-charge of the Cyclone Warning Division of the India Meteorological Department, said the process of landfall will continue for the next three hours.
The area along Puri is witnessing winds with a speed of 145 kilometres per hour that could reach up to 180-200 kmph, which could bring an "extensive damage", he said.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has warned of a storm surge of about 1.5 metres which may inundate low-lying coastal areas of Ganjam, Khurda, Puri, and Jagatsinghpur districts at the time of landfall. The government said that 10,000 villages and 52 towns located in nine districts in Odisha will be affected.
The cyclonic storm is very likely to move north-northeastwards and cross the Odisha coast between Gopalpur and Chandbali, south of Puri during forenoon with maximum sustained wind speed of 170-180 kmph gusting to 200 kmph.
The landfall process is very likely to continue till afternoon today. After the landfall, the system is very likely to continue to move north-northeastwards, weaken gradually and emerge into Gangetic West Bengal as a "severe cyclonic storm" by the early morning of May 4. Thereafter, it is very likely to move further north-northeastwards and emerge into Bangladesh on May 4 evening as a cyclonic storm.
A cyclone making a landfall implies that the first arm of the cyclone has reached the land. The eye of the cyclone, which is calm, is nearly 30 kilometres.