At least three people died after Cyclone Fani made landfall along the coast of Odisha around 8 am on Friday. Some reports, have, however claimed that the toll could be as high as eight. Several governments, including those of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal, were on high alert. Thousands of people were evacuated across all these states and several villages were swamped in Andhra and Odisha.
The airport in Bhubaneswar, which faced some damage, is expected to reopen at 1 pm on Saturday, while that of Kolkata will be shut at least till 3 pm on Saturday. The cyclone, which has weakened from an “extremely severe cyclonic storm” to a “very severe” cyclonic storm, is currently heading towards West Bengal.
Cyclone Fani, pronounced “Foni”, is the worst storm since 2014. The cyclone formed southeast of Sri Lanka around seven days ago.
Here are the day’s updates:
10.30 pm: The Kolkata airport will resume operations from 3 pm on Saturday, according to the Hindustan Times.
10.27 pm: There is no clarity on the number of people who have died due to the cyclone. While an official confirmed that three people died in Odisha, the Hindustan Times reports that five people died, while The Indian Express says eight.
10.19 pm: Public meetings of Tripura Chief Minister and BJP leader Biplab Deb in West Bengal on Saturday have been cancelled, reports News18. The meetings of BJP candidate from Mathura, Hema Malini, have also been cancelled due to the cyclone. Heavy rainfall is expected to continue till May 6 in the state.
10.10 pm: Visuals of heavy rainfall from Kolkata.
9.45 pm: Government spokesperson says that despite “significant damage to equipment” at Bhubaneswar airport, teams from the Airport Authority of India are trying to restore services. “Aircraft movements expected by 1 pm tomorrow,” he adds.
9.42 pm: Six National Disaster Response Force teams have been deployed in West Bengal, while nine teams are on standby, and 38 teams have been deployed in Odisha, reports the Hindustan Times. Twelve teams have been deployed in Andhra Pradesh and three teams are on standby. In Tamil Nadu and Kerala, four teams have been deployed while 13 have been put on standby.
7.40 pm: According to the Met department, at 5.30 pm, the cyclone was 50 km north of Bhubaneswar, and 60 km south west of Balasore in Odisha. It will weaken into a severe cyclonic storm in the next six hours, it adds.
7.26 pm: Four capital warships have been put out to sea with relief materials, says Indian Navy.
6.51 pm: Eastern Railways announces the cancellation of several trains.
6.43 pm: There has been extensive damage to kuchha houses, old buildings and temporary shops in Puri, Odisha, says Director General of the Press Information Bureau Sitanshu Kar. Around 160 people have reportedly been injured, he says, adding that power and telecom services are down.
6.41 pm: The West Bengal government has shifted about 45,000 people to shelter camps at Nadia, Midnapore, South 24 Parganas, Howrah and North 24 Parganas, News18 reports.
6.40 pm: Visuals of cyclone Fani’s impact in Digha, West Bengal.
6.36 pm: The Union Health Ministry has cancelled Bhubaneswar as a centre for the AIIMS PG 2019 examination due to the cyclone, PTI reports. The ministry has also launched helpline numbers – 01123061302, 01123063205, 01123061469 (fax) – for seeking information.
6.34 pm: In Kolkata, trains have been chained to railway tracks as a precautionary measure, reports News18.
6.33 pm: Visuals from the Bhubaneswar airport.
6.24 pm: Three people have died in cyclone Fani, says Director General of NDRF SN Pradhan, according to ANI.
5.50 pm: Fani moved slightly northwards and lay centred at 4.30 pm over coastal Odisha about 50 km to the northeast of Cuttack, says IMD. Bhubaneswar reported a maximum sustained wind speed of 98 kmph.
5.48 pm: The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation is sending out inflatable lights to ensure areas don’t go dark at nightfall.
5.31 pm: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu says 733 villages in his state were affected by the cyclone, News18 reports. He estimates that the loss would be around Rs 10 crore.
5.23 pm: Visuals from the Biju Patnaik Airport in Bhubaneswar, Odisha.
5.20 pm: Fuel retailer Indian Oil Corporation says it has made arrangements to ensure there will be an uninterrupted supply of petrol, diesel, LPG and jet fuel in Odisha and West Bengal in the wake of cyclone Fani, PTI reports. “In the wake of the cyclone Fani making landfall in Odisha earlier today [Friday], IOC is fully geared up and ensuring uninterrupted fuel supply from its locations in Odisha and West Bengal on the east coast,” the company says.
4.53 pm: Union minister Suresh Prabhu says he has directed the civil aviation secretary to monitor the situation, according to ANI. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation will issue revised advisories to airlines when necessary, he says, adding that all steps were being taken to minimise passengers’ inconvenience and enhance their safety.
4.45 pm: Bhubaneswar has reported maximum sustained wind speed of 98 kmph southwesterly wind at 2.30 pm on Friday. It received rainfall of 13.9 cm during the past six hours, the PIB says.
4.42 pm: The cyclone is likely to continue to move north-northeastwards and weaken further into a “severe cyclonic storm” in the next six hours and is likely to emerge into Gangetic West Bengal as a “severe cyclonic storm” early morning on Saturday.
4.40 pm: The “very severe” cyclonic storm moved slightly northwards and lay centred over coastal Odisha, about 25 kilometres to the northeast of Bhubaneswar, at 2.30 pm on Friday, according to the PIB.
4.27 pm: The Ministry of Home Affairs has set up a control room for assistance or updates on Cyclone Fani.
4.25 pm: Light to moderate rainfall may be expected in most parts of West Bengal and Sikkim on Saturday, the statement adds. Heavy rain is likely in some parts of the two states.
4.20 pm: The “extremely severe” cyclonic storm Fani had weakened into “very severe” cyclonic storm by noon, says the Home Ministry. Most places in Odisha is expected to receive light to moderate rain on Saturday. Heavy to very heavy rain may occur in some places such as Balasore and Mayurbhanj districts.
3.42 pm: Visuals of the Coast Guard loading relief material on a chopper.
3.22 pm: Visuals of evacuation and relief works by the National Disaster Response Force in West Bengal and Odisha.
3.20 pm: Fani is heading towards West Bengal and is expected to reach the state by Friday evening, PTI reports. Kolkata has been hit by wind and rain. Coastal areas of the state are also experiencing heavy rain and strong wind. “The eye of the storm is likely to be weakened when it enters West Bengal. The wind speed will be around 100 kmph to 110 kmph,” an official of the meteorological department says.
While government schools have been closed, the health department cancelled the leaves of doctors and other medical personnel till May 6.
3.04 pm: Heavy winds prevail in and around Bhubaneswar. In the National Institute of Science Education and Research campus in Odisha’s capital, a glass door was shattered due to the storm.
2.59 pm: “I took the latest update from officers,” Modi adds at the rally in Rajasthan, according to the Hindustan Times. “I held a review meeting yesterday [on Thursday]. More than Rs 1,000 crore was release to concerned governments in advance. The NDRF, Indian Coast Guard, army, navy and Air Force are working with the administration. I assure the affected people that the entire nation and the Centre are with them.”
2.55 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi at an election campaign rally in Karauli, Rajasthan, talks about the cyclone. “We have gathered here today, at the same time people living in coastal areas in eastern and southern India are facing an extremely severe cyclone,” he says, according to ANI. “Centre is in continuous contact with governments in Odisha, West Bengal, Andhra, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.”
2.51 pm: The cyclone is weakening, the Hindustan Times reports. “After making landfall this morning, cyclone Fani has started weakening and it’s likely to enter Bangladesh by tomorrow evening,” IMD Director General KJ Ramesh says. “No cyclone ever had such a long duration in April.” Ramesh adds that Cyclone Fani is the strongest storm to hit India since 2014.
2.42 pm: Visuals of a bus falling over and a part of a house collapsing in Bhubaneswar.
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2.40 pm: A crane collapses due to the strong wind in Bhubaneswar.
“I can confirm two deaths for now,”Odisha state special relief commissioner Bishnupada Sethi tells AFP. “One old man in one of the shelters died because of [a] heart attack. Another person went out in the storm despite our warnings and died because a tree fell on him.”
2.20 pm: Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Sambit Patra puts out a video of the cyclone. “Everything is flying in air...have literally turned deaf because of wind sound,” Patra says in a tweet.
1.28 pm: Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim is monitoring the situation in the city and coordinating with the disaster management team, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee says.
“All arrangements have been made for districts,” PTI quotes Banerjee as saying. “Relief materials have been sent to districts and we have opened one monitoring cell at the state secretariat 24x7 to keep a watch on the situation. I will request people staying in dilapidated houses to move to safer places.”
1.20 pm: Cyclone Fani was about 18 kilometres north east of Bhubaneswar and 20 kilometres south east of Cuttack at 12.30 pm, the IMD says. At 11.30 am, Bhubaneswar reported wind speeds of 130 kilometres per hour, an indication that the cyclone is reducing in intensity.
1.15 pm: The roof of an undergraduate hostel at AIIMS Bhubaneshwar has been blown off, says the Director General of the Press Information Bureau Sitanshu Kar. “Extensive damage to structure of AIIMS Bhubaneswar reported due to Cyclone Fani,” Kar quotes Odisha Health Secretary Preeti Sudan as saying. “All patients, staff and students are safe. Many water tanks have blown off, lighting poles are down, air conditioners damaged. We have enough supplies, ready to support the state.”
12.50 pm: The Election Commission approves the proposal for granting relaxations in the provisions of Model Code of Conduct in East Godavari, Visakhapatnam, Vizianagram and Srikakulam districts of Andhra Pradesh for preventive and relief work for Cyclone Fani, ANI reports.
12.45 pm: Cyclone Fani weakened into a very severe cyclonic storm at 11.30 am about 10 kilometres east of Bhubaneshwar and 30 kilometres south of Cuttack, the IMD says.
12.30 pm: BJP chief Amit Shah cancels all three rallies in Jharkhand scheduled for later today due to bad weather in the state.
12.25 pm: Odisha Police says the cyclone has hit Cuttack severely. “Lots of trees are uprooted. The DCP of Cuttack and ODRAF [Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force] unit as per the guidance of DGP Odisha is putting all the possible efforts to ensure the roads are cleared as soon as possible,” the Odisha Police says.
12.18 pm: The Indian Navy says it has scheduled to launch P-8I and Dornier aircraft in the afternoon to undertake an aerial survey to assess the extent of impact and devastation, ANI reports.
“Helicopters are also kept standby for joining in rescue operation and for air dropping of relief material when required,” says Navy spokesperson Captain DK Sharma.
12.16 pm: Union minister for Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu says airlines must immediately respond to concerns of passengers affected by the Cyclone Fani, PTI reports.
12.11 pm: The Konark-Puri road has been cut off after Cyclone Fani made landfall, Oxfam India reports.
11.59 am: Fani has moved away from Andhra Pradesh, so we have issued a de-warning, IMD official Mrityunjay Mohapatra tells ANI. “Three districts in the state were impacted by heavy rainfall.”
11.46 am: CPM leader Sitaram Yechury says Cyclone Fani is a cause for deep concern. He asks both central and state governments to act with urgency.
11.43 am: Airports Authority of India revises closure timing for Kolkata airport, reports ANI. Now, no flights will fly to or from Kolkata Airport between 3 pm on Friday and 8 am Saturday.
11.37 am: Cyclone Fani was centred about 20 kilometres north of Puri and 25 kilometres south of Bhubaneshwar at 10.30 am, the IMD says. The cyclone’s wind speed was 165-175 kilometres per hour, gusting to 190 kilometres per hour. It is very likely to move north east along the coast and weaken from an “extremely severe cyclonic storm” to a “very severe cyclonic storm” in the next three hours.
11.35 am: A map of the projected path of Cyclone Fani.
11.31 am: The storm leaves several houses damaged, trees and electric poles uprooted, reports Hindustan Times.
11.24 am: People at a relief shelter in Ichchapuram town of Srikakulam district in Andhra Pradesh.
11.18 am: The Press Information Bureau tweets a video of Cyclone Fani.
11.04 am: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee cancels all her political meetings for the next two days. She will be in Kharagpur, which is near the coastal belt, to monitor the situation.
10.45 am: Congress President Rahul Gandhi asks party workers to warn people in their surrounding areas of the approaching danger and those in need.
10.37 am: Cylcone Fani is likely to move north-northwestward and weaken into a “very severe” storm over the next six hours, says IMD.
10.24 am: Thirteen Navy aircraft are on standby in Visakhapatnam, reports ANI.
10.18 am: The eye of cyclone Fani moved entirely into land at 10 am near Puri, the IMD says. The cyclone thus crossed Odisha between 8 am and 10 am.
10.15 am: The railways will run a special train from Visakhapatnam to Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus with the timings and halts of the Konark Express (11020) for passengers stranded at Visakhapatnam and surrounding areas.
10.14 am: Power cuts in several places across Bhubaneshwar, reports Hindustan Times.
10.11 am: Strong winds lash Andhra Pradesh, trees uprooted.
9.53 am: Relief work underway in Andhra Pradesh’s Srikakulam district, reports ANI.
9.48 am: The district magistrate of Bhadrak, Odisha tweets pictures of three women who were evacuated hours before Cyclone Fani hit Odisha.
9.37 am: A list of trains cancelled in view of Cyclone Fani.
9.28 am: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has a satellite visual of landfall.
9.27 am: Social media users have begun to upload videos of the storm.
9.24 am: Rain lashes Paradip beach, Odisha.
9.23 am: A private cyclone tracker, using data from the IMD and the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre, reports that landfall began near Chilika Lake, south of Puri. The cyclone weakened slightly before landfall but still has wind speeds of around 180 kilometres per hour.
9.18 am: Strong winds lash Visakhapatnam coast.
9.16 am: Cyclone Fani began landfall at 8 am, says the weather department. The entire eye will cover land in two hours.
9.08 am: Cyclone Fani makes landfall in Puri district of Odisha.
9.06 am: About 5,000 kitchens have started operating in the relief shelters across Odisha, reports Hindustan Times.
9.01 am: NDRF personnel vacate Paradip sea beach, reports ANI.
8.48 am: The Ministry of Home Affairs sets up a control room. For assistance or updates on Cyclone Fani, one can call on the helpline number 1938, reports NDTV.
8.44 am: The maximum number of people – about three lakh – have been evacuated from Ganjam district, reports News18. Over one lakh people have been moved away from Puri district.
8.43 am: At 7.30 am, Cyclone Fani lay centred over the northwestern and west-central part of Bay of Bengal, about 40 km from Puri, according to the latest update issued by India Meteorological Department.
7.45 am: Fani is very likely to move north-northeastwards and cross the Odisha coast between Gopalpur and Chandbali near Puri between 8 am and 11 am. Landfall impact has started, and the process is likely to continue till the afternoon, the IMD says.
After landfall, the “extremely severe cyclonic storm” will gradually weaken into a “severe cyclonic storm” by early Saturday.
7.44 am: The cyclone has a wind speed of 175 to 185 km per hour, gusting up to 195 km per hour, the IMD update says. By 6.30 am, 16 cm of rain was reported in Gopalpur, 10 cm in Puri and 5 cm in Bhubaneswar. A wind speed of 140 km per hour was recorded in Puri and 85 km per hour in Gopalpur at 6.30 am.
7.42 am: At 6.30 am, Cyclone Fani lay centred over the northwestern and west-central part of Bay of Bengal, about 70 km from Puri and 75 km from Gopalpur, according to the latest update issued by India Meteorological Department.
7.40 am: Odisha is on high alert and authorities in West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh have taken precautionary measures, the Hindustan Times reports. The Odisha government has told the National Crisis Management Committee that 10,000 villages and 52 towns in nine districts will be affected.
Flight operations from Bhubaneswar are suspended since midnight and will be suspended at Kolkata airport from Friday morning. Train operations in Odisha have been suspended too.
As many as 11 lakh people in Odisha are being moved to safer places, and around 900 cyclone shelters are in place.
7.35 am: The Coast Guard says it has positioned 34 Disaster Relief Teams at Visakhapatnam, Chennai, Paradip, Gopalpur, Haldia, Frazerganj and Kolkata, and four ships at Visakhapatnam and Chennai.
7.30 am: Cyclones in the North Indian Ocean region tend to form between April and May and between September and December, with higher intensity storms occurring in the latter half of the year. Fani is unusual because it is rare for “severe cyclones” to form in the first half of the year. Since 1891, only 14 severe cyclones have formed in the Bay of Bengal and of those only one made landfall, the Indian Express reported.
7.10 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday chaired a high-level meeting to review preparedness. The authorities apprised Modi of the cyclone’s scheduled path and the measures undertaken and planned to minimise damage caused by the storm.
Modi has directed senior officials to coordinate with their counterparts in the affected states to ensure quick and effective relief and rescue operations. Measures discussed include water and food provisions, deployment of teams from National Disaster Response Force and the armed forces and standby systems to restore power and telecom services, PTI reported.
More than 4,000 specialised personnel in 81 NDRF teams have been deployed to parts of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal. Around 50 teams have been positioned in the coastal areas and another 31 teams have been kept on standby.
7 am: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik reviewed measures undertaken ahead of the storm’s landfall. “Administration is fully geared to handle the situation,” Patnaik tweeted.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu also conducted a review meeting on his state’s preparedness for the cyclone, ANI reported. “If necessary I will visit cyclone affected regions in state,” Naidu said. “I have written a letter to Election Commission seeking exemption from election code of conduct to monitor the situation during cyclones.”