The IMD warned that the storm surge will be of about 1-2 metres above astronomical tide would inundate low lying areas of Visakhapatnam, Vijayanagaram and Srikakulam districts of north coastal Andhra Pradesh at the time of landfall.
Ahead of the cyclone hitting Andhra Pradesh coast, arrangements were being made to evacuate people from low-lying areas. Tens of thousands of people from low-lying areas of coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh have been evacuated as the state intensified preparations to face Cyclone Hudhud, expected to reach the northern coastline around Visakhapatnam by forenoon on Sunday.
Deputy CM K Krishna Murthy said the district collectors in areas that would face the wrath of the cyclone had made arrangements to store dry rations, drinking water and other essential items at safe shelters where people would be evacuated. Heavy rains have been forecast at several places and wind speeds are expected to reach 120 kms per hour. Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam and East Godavari have been put on a high alert.
The Odisha government too planned to evacuate around 4 lakh people in the five southern districts of the state that come within the arc of the storm. Though Hudhud is expected to hit the coast near port city of Visakhapatnam on the forenoon of October 12, barring Ganjam, the non-coastal southern districts of Malkangiri, Koraput, Gajapati and Rayagada would be affected by the cyclone with windspeed reaching upto 90 km an hour.
Among the 4 lakh people to be evacuated, at least 1.5 lakh would be evacuated in Ganjam while another 1 lakh would be housed in safe shelters in Gajapati district.
Special relief commissioner P K Mohapatra said the number of persons to be evacuated may vary depending on the situation. For the first time, four of the five districts are going to be affected by a cyclone. However, very heavy to extreme rainfall is expected in these districts. Besides, other coastal districts may also get heavy rainfall. We have asked the district collectors to take a decision depending on the situation, he said.
Like during last years Phailin cyclone, the Odisha government has set itself a target of zero casualty for Hudhud.
In view of the cyclone, the East Coast Railways cancelled 35 trains that would be originating or passing through Visakhapatnam for the next two days. Similarly, 31 trains that were to pass though Visakhapatnam section would be diverted to different routes for the next two days.
Meanwhile, the armed forces too were getting ready for disaster relief operations. The Army has kept headquarters in Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Karnataka and Kerala area and Sub Areas/Air Defence College on standby while the Navy has positioned its assets and personnel in areas of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, including Chilka and Visakhapatnam.
With PTI inputs