Odisha and adjoining regions were on Friday battered by extremely severe cyclonic storm Fani which made landfall in Puri district with a wind speed of around 245 kmph at 8 am, according to Hyderabad IMD.
"Fani centred near lat 19.8 & long 85.7 at 0930 IST of today close to Puri, latest observations indicate that the eye of cyclone has completely moved into land by 1000 hrs IST. Thus the cyclone crossed Odisha coast between 0800 - 1000 IST," tweeted India Meteorological Department (IMD).
The landfall process will be completed by 10.30 am, the weather office said.
The landfall began on Friday morning at 8 am with strong winds and rain hitting Puri district. Helpline number - 1938 - has been made operational by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
Indian Coast Guard has positioned 34 disaster relief teams at Visakhapatnam, Chennai, Paradip, Gopalpur, Haldia, Frazergunj and Kolkata besides four ships at Visakhapatnam and Chennai.
The system is likely to continue to move north-northeastwards, weaken gradually and emerge into Gangetic West Bengal as a "severe cyclonic storm" by the early morning of May 4.
Thereafter, it is expected to move further north-northeastwards and emerge into Bangladesh on May 4 evening as a cyclonic storm.
The IMD has warned of a storm surge of about 1.5 metres which may inundate low-lying coastal areas of Ganjam, Khurda, Puri, and Jagatsinghpur districts. The government said that 10,000 villages and 52 towns in nine districts of Odisha are likely to be affected.
In Andhra Pradesh, relief operation by National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is underway in Kotturu Mandal of Srikakulam which was hit by rain and strong winds in the wake of the cyclone.
The Odisha administration has evacuated over 11 lakh people from the vulnerable districts since Thursday. More than 3 lakh people have been evacuated from Ganjam district alone, followed by 1.3 lakh from Puri district. About 5000 kitchens are operating to serve people in shelters. (ANI)