Cyclone Titli strikes India's Odisha coast

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By afternoon, the storm which was travelling north-west, had weakened into a "severe" storm, said Mrutyunjay Mahapatra, Head of Tropical Cyclones Division of the Indian Metereological Department. In 1999, a devastating cyclone killed more than 15,000 people.

It is expected to curve northeastwards again towards the Gangetic West Bengal across Odisha, but losing power all the while.

The storm is likely to move north-northwestwards and cross Odisha and adjoining north Andhra Pradesh coast between Gopalpur and Kalingapatnam around Thursday morning, it said.

The latest India Meteorological Department (IMD) report said cyclone Titli made the landfall between 4.30 and 5.30 am in south-west coast of Gopalpur near Palasa in Andhra Pradesh with an estimated maximum sustained surface wind speed of 140-150 kmph gusting to 165 kmph.

Titli' is moving north westward over coastal Odisha causing heavy to very heavy rainfall in parts different parts of the State.

Officials in Odisha evacuated more than 300,000 people, suspended operations at the port of Paradip and cancelled many trains and flights on Wednesday.

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Eight districts in Odisha - Ganjam, Gajapati, Khurda, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Balasore - were affected by the cyclone.

The CM stressed on his government's "zero casualty" disaster management policy. The IMD has said the region will experience very heavy rain, which could lead to flooding, and strong winds.

It also forecast heavy to very heavy rainfall for Kandhamal, Boudh and Dhenkanal district from Thursday. Wind speed at Gopalpur during the landfall was around 126 kmph.

Reviewing the already afoot evacuation process starting with Ganjam district, Patnaik said all schools, colleges and anganwadi centres would be closed on October 11 and 12. The CWC has asked the ports to lower the danger signals. Fishermen along the Odisha coast, and central and north Bay of Bengal were advised not to venture into sea till Friday. Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi, who attended the meeting, in his address to media said units of NDRF, ODRAF and fire services personnel have been deployed in vulnerable districts.

All the 836 cyclone and flood shelters have also been kept in a state of preparedness, while adequate relief materials arranged, he said.

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