The India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued alerts for extremely heavy rains ahead of Cyclone Yaas’ landfall on Tuesday, putting many districts in Odisha on high alert. For Tuesday and Wednesday, a red alert has been released for the districts of Kendrapara, Bhadrak, Jagatsinghpur, and Balasore. IMD Bhubaneswar said, “We have given the highest danger alert for Dhamra and Paradip ports.”
IMD issued an orange warning for Tuesday in Mayurbhanj, Jajpur, Cuttack, Khorda, and Puri, citing the weather department’s forecast of moderate to very heavy rainfall. Cyclone Yaas, which is brewing in the Bay of Bengal, is forecast to make landfall by Wednesday afternoon, with wind speeds of 150-160 km/h gusting to 180 km/h, according to IMD.
Thousands of people have been evacuated as Cyclone Yaas approaches the country’s western coast, just days after Cyclone Tauktae, which had a similar intensity but killed more than 100 people. “As a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm, Cyclone Yaas is very likely to cross the north Odisha-West Bengal coasts between Paradip and Sagar Island around Balasore during the afternoon of Wednesday, May 26th.” IMD said in its bulletin.
Meanwhile, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has ordered the state’s home minister to travel to Balasore and stay there for the duration of the’very strong cyclonic storm.’ He also urged residents of Odisha’s coastal regions to work with the local government and relocate to cyclone shelters.
Since the cyclone crisis coincided with the Covid-19 pandemic, making rescue efforts more difficult, Odisha’s chief minister also asked people to follow Covid-19 protocols and wear two masks.