A depression in the Bay of Bengal is likely to intensify into a deep depression by Thursday night and subsequently a cyclonic storm by Friday morning, the India Meteorological Department said. The IMD said the storm is likely to move northwestwards towards Andhra Pradesh coast during the next 72 hours.

Cyclone Phethai is the third cyclone in the northeast monsoon season after cyclones Gaja and Titli. In November, Cyclone Gaja claimed 45 lives and damaged over 1.17 lakh houses. At least 57 people died in Cyclone Titli in Odisha in October.

The IMD forecast heavy rain for most places over coastal Andhra Pradesh and north coastal Tamil Nadu on Saturday. Squally wind is very likely to prevail over central parts of south Bay of Bengal, it added. The Met department advised fishermen not to venture into the sea on Friday and Saturday.

Heavy to very heavy rain could occur in Chittoor, Nellore and Prakasam districts over the weekend, Dr K Naga Ratna of the IMD (Hyderabad) told The Times of India. “It is too early to predict the path and landfall point of the cyclone, but chances are high for its landfall over south coastal Andhra Pradesh,” Ratna said.