India evacuations 'saved lives'

Mass evacuations have spared India the widespread deaths many had feared from a powerful cyclone that roared ashore over the weekend, officials said. Nearly one million people were evacuated from the coast ahead of Cyclone Phailin making landfall.

Latest ITV News reports

450,000 flee their homes ahead of cyclone

Rain and wind lashed India's east coast forcing about 450,000 people to flee to shelters as one of the country's largest cyclones closed in, threatening to cut a swathe of devastation through farmland and fishing hamlets.

The storm was expected to affect 12 million people, most of them in the densely populated states of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, weather and disaster management officials said.

Pictured: Cyclone expected to bring 11-foot surge in sea levels

Cyclone expected to bring 11-foot surge in sea levels

Phailin is expected to bring a 3.4-m (11-foot) surge in sea levels when it hits the coast.
Phailin is expected to bring a 3.4-m (11-foot) surge in sea levels when it hits the coast. Credit: APTN

Filling most of the Bay of Bengal, Cyclone Phailin is expected to strike the coast by nightfall with winds of between 210 kph (130 mph) and 220 kph (137 mph).

Phailin is expected to bring a 3.4-m (11-foot) surge in sea levels when it hits the coast.

Advertisement

'Super cyclone' likened in intensity to hurricane Katrina

London-based Tropical Storm Risk said the storm was already the "super cyclone" category, and classed it as a Category 5 storm - the strongest. The US Navy's weather service said wind at sea was gusting at 314 kph.

India is on red alert. Credit: Google Maps

Some forecasters likened its size and intensity to hurricane Katrina, which tore through the US Gulf coast and New Orleans in 2005. Its scale also stirred memories of a 1999 Indian storm when winds reaching speeds of 300 kph battered Odisha for 30 hours.

Read: Giant cyclone set to hit India

Wind speed 'picking up' ahead of India 'super cyclone'

Families walked through the rain to shelters, television images showed, as gusts of wind snapped branches from trees.

"The storm has high damage potential, considering windspeed," Lakshman Singh Rathore, head of the weather department, said.

Tourists left popular beach resort Puri. Officials broadcast cyclone warnings through loudspeakers, radio and television.

The wind speed is picking up.

Some people were earlier reluctant to move. They are willing now.

– East coast state Odisha's Special Relief Commissioner, Pradeep Kumar Mohapatra.

Filling most of the Bay of Bengal, Phailin was about 300 km offshore on Saturday morning, satellite images showed, and was expected to reach land by nightfall. Officials said the storm was verging on becoming a "super cyclone."

India put on red alert as 'super cyclone' nears east coast

Rain and wind lashed India's east coast and nearly 400,000 people fled to cyclone shelters after the government issued a red alert and warned of severe damage when one of the largest storms the country has ever seen makes landfall later on Saturday.

Muslims and Hindus gathered at mosques and temples in Odisha state, praying Cyclone Phailin would not be as devastating as a similar storm that killed 10,000 people 14 years ago. Heavy rain pounded coastal villages in neighboring Andhra Pradesh.

Phailin was packing winds of at least 220 kph (137 mph) on Saturday morning and was expected to cause a 3.4-m (11-foot) surge in sea levels when it hits the coast in the evening, the India Meteorological Department said in a statement.

Foreign Office warns against travel to parts of India

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised against all travel in the immediate vicinity of the border with Pakistan, other than at Wagah.

The FCO has also advised against all travel to Manipur and all but essential travel to Imphal, the state capital of Manipur.

It advises against all travel to Jammu and Kashmir with the exception of the cities of Jammu and Srinagar, travel by air to the cities of Jammu and Srinagar, travel between these two cities on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway and travel within the region of Ladakh.

The FCO also advises against travel to Jammu and Kashmir with the exception of the cities of Jammu and Srinagar, travel by air to the cities of Jammu and Srinagar, travel between these two cities on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway and travel within the region of Ladakh.

Advertisement

Waves crash into southern India ahead of cyclone

Huge crashing waves along the south Indian shoreline have heralded the impending arrival of the fiercest cyclone in more than a decade.

Tens of thousands have fled their homes in coastal areas and moved to shelters.

Giant waves have been generated in breakwater at a fishing harbour in Jalaripeta in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Credit: Reuters
Indian fishermen have been recalling their boats as the southern states brace themselves for the massive storm. Credit: Reuters
Others, though, watched the arrival of early churning waters from the Bay of Bengal before taking shelter. Credit: Reuters

Indians evacuate homes as giant cyclone approaches

Tens of thousands of residents in low-lying areas of India have begun fleeing their homes as a giant cyclone approaches the country's east coast.

Satellite images showed Cyclone Phailin 600 km (360 miles) off the coast in the Bay of Bengal and likely to make landfall on Saturday evening.

An auto rickshaw drives through a flooded street in eastern India
An auto rickshaw drives through a flooded street in eastern India Credit: EBU

Some forecasters likened its size and intensity to that of hurricane Katrina, which devastated the US Gulf coast and New Orleans in 2005.

Satellite images showed the storm covering an area roughly half the size of India.

Water cascades off the edge of a road as vehicles drive past
Water cascades off the edge of a road as vehicles drive past Credit: EBU

The Indian Meteorological Department described Phailin as a "very severe cyclonic storm" with wind speeds of 210-220 km per hour (130-135 mph).

Residents walk through a flooded street
Residents walk through a flooded street Credit: EBU
Load more updates