The India Meteorological Department late on Tuesday issued a “yellow warning” for the Odisha coast, predicting heavy to very heavy rainfall at some places ahead of the landfall of Cyclone Fani, ANI reported. A yellow warning indicates severely bad weather, warning people who are at risk to take preventive action.

The weather department predicted rain in Boudh, Kalahandi, Sambalpur, Deogarh and Sundargarh towns of Odisha. In its bulletin, the IMD said the storm has intensified into an “extremely severe cyclonic storm”, and will cross the Odisha coast between Gopalpur and Chandbali towns, to the south of the town of Puri, on the afternoon of May 3, accompanied by winds of 175 to 185 km per hour, gusting to 205 km per hour. The cyclone is likely to make landfall on May 3.

Cyclone Fani – pronounced “Foni” – is seen moving northwestwards towards the coastline of northern Tamil Nadu and southern Andhra Pradesh till May 1, and then re-curve north-northeastwards towards the Odisha coast

The sea conditions along and off the Odisha coast are likely to be “rough to very rough” on May 2, and will become “high to phenomenal” by May 4, the weather body said. The IMD has asked fishermen not to venture into the sea. It has also asked for evacuation of people from coastal areas and diversion or suspension of rail and road traffic.

Meanwhile, the Naveen Patnaik government in Odisha on Tuesday sought two helicopters and additional National Disaster Response Force personnel to evacuate affected people, the Odisha Sun Times reported. “We have requested the cabinet secretary to station two helicopters for extra air-dropping, if required and additional NDRF teams as our primary task is evacuation,” Chief Secretary AP Padhi told reporters following a review meeting. The evacuation process will begin on May 2, he added.

The National Crisis Management Committee, the country’s top body to deal with emergency situations, took stock of the situation on Monday and assured state governments of all assistance from the central government. The NDRF and the Indian Coast Guard have been put on high alert.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Centre had sanctioned Rs 1,086 crore to four states, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal to deal with the cyclone.