The very severe cyclonic storm 'Phailin', expected to make landfall at Gopalpur in Odisha, moved closer to the state and lay about 600 km southeast of Paradip, as the government sought the help of defence forces to boost its preparedness, official sources said tonight - Andhra Pradesh state too is in the way of the storm.
"Cyclone Phailin over east central Bay of Bengal moved northwestwards slightly, intensified further and lay centred at about 600 km southeast of Paradip and 700 km southeast of Gopalpur," the latest bulletin issued by the IMD said.
It would continue to move northwestwards and make landfall close to Gopalpur on the Odisha coast and north Andhra Pradesh by the evening of October 12 in the shape of a very severe cyclonic storm with a maximum wind speed of 175-185 kmph, it said.
"Our past experience indicates that despite the state government's preparedness, impact of a very severe cyclonic storm requires support of the defence forces to mitigate the effects of extreme weather events," Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said in a letter to Defence Minister A K Antony.
The Defence ministry has responded immediately to the state government's request.
Special Relief Commissioner P K Mohapatra said that the Defence ministry has confirmed that some helicopters would be kept ready at Barrackpore in neighbouring West Bengal and would be ready to fly out by Sunday morning.
He said Odisha did not have a place to station the helicopters therefore they would fly in from Barrackpore.
Mohapatra said that food packets for about 1 lakh people would be ready before the Cyclone Phailin's landfall.
Director of IMD, Bhubaneswar, Sarat Sahu said squally winds speeds reaching 45-55 kmph to 65 kmph would hit Odisha and north Andhra Pradesh tomorrow morning. It would increase in intensity with wind speeds of a gale reaching 175-185 kmph along and off coastal districts of south Odisha and north Andhra Pradesh at the time of landfall.
The sea along and off Odisha and north Andhra Pradesh coast would be rough to very rough from tomorrow and would become 'phenomenal'