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Super cyclone to hit India, evacuations begin
October 12, 2013, 7:31 am

The Indian weather body said the storm surges would scale heights of 3-3.5 meters. Storm surges are the wall of water pushed up by the winds and could pose the major threat to lives [AP Images]

The Indian weather body said the storm surges would scale heights of 3-3.5 metres [AP Images]

A very severe tropical cyclone is heading towards the coastal areas of the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, threatening around 12 million people.

Gusts of 240 km per hour are expected on landfall, said the Indian meteorological department on Saturday.

London-based storm tracking service Tropical Storm Risk described Cyclone Phailin as a Category 4 storm.

Satellite images show the storm to be half the size of India.

The Indian weather body said the storm surges would scale heights of 3-3.5 metres.

Storm surges are the wall of water pushed up by the winds and could pose the major threat to lives and property.

The “very severe cyclone” is expected to hit 200 km off Gopalpur Odisha between 1230-1430 GMT on Saturday and is forecast to result in “catastrophic damage”.

One thousand six hundred disaster relief personnel, five Indian army columns and paramilitary forces have been deployed to the two states likely to be hit.

Severe flooding is also expected with a minimum of 250 mm of rainfall.

Ports have been shut and over half a million people have already been evacuated from the coastal areas in the two states.

The US Joint Typhoon Warning Centre has suggested that the typhoon could be stronger than anticipated by the Indian authorities, suggesting a Category 5 equivalent system with winds of 260 km per hour and gusts of 315 km per hour. The storm surge warning by the US agency is forecast at 5.5 metres.

A 1999 cyclone with storm surges eight metres high swept 20km inland and caused devastation killing over ten thousand people.

The state government has said it is confident about its preparations to battle the typhoon this time.

With inputs from Agencies 

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