Heavy rains today lashed the coastal belt of Orissa, which is bracing for cyclone Phailin that is set to hit the state by the evening, as authorities shifted 2.5 lakh people to safer place in the state.
Moving closer, cyclonic storm Phailin is currently positioned just 260 km off the coast of Gopalpur, which is likely to be epicentre of the storm, the MET department said.
"The system would move northwestwards and cross north Andhra Pradesh and Odisha coasts between Kalingapatnam and Paradip close to Gopalpur (Odisha) by evening as a very severe cyclonic storm with a maximum sustained wind speed of 210-220 kmph," the latest IMD bulletin said.
The state government has evacuated 2.5 lakh people from six coastal districts and the operation has been continuing. Of the 2.5 lah people, one lakh people alone have been taken to safe place at Gopalpur, official sources said.
The districts likely to experience tidal surge are Ganjam, Puri, Khurda, Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara. The administration of Balasore and Bhadrak are also put on alert, Special Relief Commissioner P K Mohapatra said.
"We have shifted one lakh people. They are kept at safe place and provided with all necessary provisions. The administration has to forcibly evacuate some people as they were reluctant to shift," said Ganjam Collector Krishna Kumar.
Kumar along with Range DIG Amitav Thakur personally went round the fishermen's village and evacuated people. The district administration has targeted evacuation of all the people within 10 km from the coast in Gopalpur area and other parts of Ganjan, Kumar said.