Environment and Wildlife

Cyclone Gulab: Heavy rains to continue in AP; crops damages reported across state

Cyclone Gulab that barrelled into the east coast between Kalingapatnam in Andhra Pradesh and Gopalpur in Odisha on Sunday, September 27, 2021, uprooted several hundreds of trees, electric poles, and affected normal life in the two States before weakening into a deep depression. 

Strong winds and heavy rains that accompanied the cyclone battered three north coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh, besides the two districts of Godavari and Krishna on Monday. Two persons were killed in as many separate cyclone-related incidents in Andhra, even as thousands of people were sheltered in temporary relief camps.

Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam bore the fury of the cyclone, which inundated several low-lying areas and uprooted several trees and snapping power supply lines. NDRF personnel, along with their Andhra counterparts, and State government officials, swung into action and the situation improved as the rains weakened by evening. 

The deep depression triggered widespread rains all along the coast from Srikakulam to Guntur with Visakhapatnam city receiving a record rainfall of 33 cm in 24 hours that ended at 8.30 am on Monday. Meghadrigedda reservoir released 15,000 cusecs of water through two gates after the water rose 61 feet to full reservoir level, recording the highest inflow in the past 12 years. 

The Visakhapatnam international airport functioned normally despite Meghadrigedda waters entering its premises. “The water level was high in the morning but it subsided by evening”, airport director K. Srinivasa Rao said. “The airport operations were not affected,” he said. Meanwhile, landslides forced authorities to close both the ghat roads to Simhachalam temple.  

In Srikakulam, strong winds touching speeds of 85 kmph left a trail of destruction in at least eight mandals. More than 1,500 people were evacuated to safer places in 38 rehabilitation centres in the district. Several uprooted trees and electric poles severely affected vehicular traffic. Power supply to eight mandals were severely affected and the remaining were partially hit. 

Power and water supply were disrupted in Ranastalam, Etcherla, Srikakulam, Gara, Polaki, G Sigadam Santabommali and Vajrapukotturu mandals. In Vepagunta of Pendurthi mandal of Visakhapatnam, a 31-year-old woman was killed in a rain-triggered landslide.

In Vizianagaram, a 50-year-old man of Gadabapeta village in Veduruwada GP of Bondapalli mandal, died when a papaya tree fell on him in the heavy winds on Monday. Pilli Budarayya was trying to keep paddy grains dry when the incident occurred. He died while being shifted to Pedamajjipalem primary health centre. 

The Indian Navy continued the search for fisherman B. Mohan Rao of Manchineella Peta in Vajrapukotturu mandal, who had been missing in the sea since Sunday. Five others, who had been with him. swam to safety after their boat capsized.  

Thousands of acres of agricultural and horticulture crops have been affected in East and West Godavari districts as well as in north coastal Andhra districts. The exact loss has not been estimated. 

The depression is likely to move west-northwestwards and weaken into a low-pressure area in the next 24 hours. The system is likely to emerge into northeast Arabian Sea and adjoining Gujarat coast around September 30 evening, and there is likelihood for the system to further intensify over northeast Arabian Sea during the subsequent 24 hours. 

Tejaswini Pagadala

Communications Consultant: TEJASWINI PAGADALA is an independent communications consultant. She has previously worked with the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister’s Office as the Communications Officer where she has written English speeches for the CM, managed English media communication from the CMO and handled social media accounts of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and the Government.
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