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Cyclone Phethai: Chennai, Andhra on alert as the new storm expected to be as severe as Gaja

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Bengaluru, Dec 13: A newly formed depression in the Bay of Bengal is expected develop into a tropical cyclone in the next 48 hours and threaten parts of eastern India by this weekend. The IMD has not confirmed that the cyclone will hit the Indian coast. However, if it intensifies into a cyclone, it will be called Phethai.

Cyclone Phethai: Chennai, Andhra on alert as the new storm expected to be as severe as Gaja

The Indian Meteorological Department has predicted that by December 15 (Saturday) the depression will intensify into a severe cyclonic storm. The IMD has not said if the cyclone will hit Indian mainland. The storm is moving towards Andhra Pradesh, but the last position of the cyclone the IMD has been able to predict is for December 16. On that day the severe cyclonic storm is expected to be over Bay of Bengal some 200-300 kms away from the Indian coast, as seen in the map below.

Cyclone Gaja: A list of do's and don'ts during and before the landfall

The sea condition is likely to be rough to very rough and the deep sea fishermen have been advised to immediately return coast.

On December 16, the severe cyclonic storm is predicted to be a few hundred kilometres away from the Indian coast. People in areas from Chennai northward to Visakhapatnam and Puri have been asked to monitor the development and track of this strengthening depression. Several days of largely dry weather across southern India into Friday will allow residents to prepare for potential impacts and evacuations from the storm.

While wind damage will likely be confined to areas close to the coast, downpours may spread farther inland across much of southern Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

It may be recalled that Andhra, was hit by Cyclone Titli in October, which claimed the lives of at least eight people in the state. The damage to two of the worst-hit districts, Srikakulam and Vizianagaram, was estimated at Rs 3,435 crore, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu had said. With wind speeds reaching 175 kilometres per hour, it had uprooted thousands of electricity and telecommunication poles, devastated coconut and cashew orchards, and flattened crops.

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