Third in a row, Lehar

After cyclones Phailin and Helen, a new cyclone named Lehar is likely to hit Andhra Pradesh coastal area between Machilipatnam and Kalingapatnam today afternoon

System, which is moving at a speed of 15kmph westwards now, is expected to intensify in the evening and move west-northwestwards. Moderate rains and squally winds at 45-55 km per hour are expected tomorrow which may further lead to windspeeds of upto 200 km as the system comes closer.

33 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams have been deployed. There are 16 teams in East Godavari, six each in Vizag and Krishna and five teams in West Godavari.

Storm may lead to extensive damage to mud houses, disruption of communication and power lines, road and rail traffic. State’s disaster commissioner has warned of potential threat from flying debris and flooding of escape routes and also extensive damage to agricultural crops.

Fishermen have been advised to return to coast. Evacuation from low-lying areas in four districts, Krishna, East and West Godavari and Visakhapatnam, will take place tomorrow afternoon. Special officers have been nominated for the nine coastal districts.

Control rooms at Secretariat- 040 - 23452144 and 23451043 have been opened and operating.

The state government has sought four helicopters from defence secretary to be stationed at Visakhapatnam. Along with the Army and Railways, the Coast Guard, Coastal Security wing, Marine Police, and district police have been alerted.

District Collectors have been asked to ensure adequate supplies of food, drinking water, medicines, fuel in vulnerable areas. Relief centers are also opened up.

529 marine villages out of 580 in nine coastal districts have been contacted so far. 5550 boat out of 6160 that have ventured into the sea have returned.

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