Hyderabad, The intensity of cyclonic storm 'Lehar', that is expected to hit Andhra Pradesh coast on Thursday and bring heavy rainfall in its wake, has weakened but the state government remains alert, evacuating people from vulnerable areas and taking all precautionary measures.
The very severe cyclonic storm, located over west-central and adjoining south Bay of Bengal, has weakened into a severe cyclonic storm, an official bulletin said here.
The government, however, continued its preparations to face the situation and has evacuated over 27,000 people till this evening, an official release said.
Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, who reviewed the situation with officials, has directed the administration at Hyderabad and all the coastal districts, particularly Krishna, East, West Godavari and Visakhapatnam to be on high alert and take precautionary measures, it release said.
Reddy said though the severity of cyclone has come down, heavy rains are expected in East and West Godavari, Krishna and Guntur districts.
The system lay centred at 1730 hours today over west- central Bay of Bengal, about 450 km from Machillipatnam in Andhra coast. It was expected to weaken further and cross Andhra coast near Machillipatnam around today afternoon.
The bulletin said rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places would occur over coastal Andhra Pradesh and Yanam district of Puducherry tomorrow. Isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall has been forecast over these regions on November 29.
Rainfall at most places with isolated heavy to very heavy falls would also occur over Telangana on November 28-29. Squally wind speed reaching 45-55 kmph gusting to 65 kmph would prevail along and off AP during the next 24 hours.
It would increase in intensity with gale wind speed reaching 70-80 kmph along and off districts of Guntur, Krishna, West and East Godavari and adjoining areas of Vishakhapatnam and Yanam at the time of landfall, it said.
The state of sea along and off Andhra Pradesh coast will be rough to very rough. Storm surge would inundate low-lying areas of West and East Godavari and Krishna districts.
The cyclone is expected to cause extensive damage to thatched roofs, huts, agricultural crops and minor damage to power and communication lines, the release said.
The Met department has suggested suspension of fishing operations and evacuation of coastal hutment dwellers to safer places.