Parts of north coastal Andhra Pradesh started receiving heavy rains on Thursday as the extremely severe cyclonic storm 'Fani' in the Bay of Bengal neared the coast and was likely to make a landfall near Puri on Odisha on Friday, officials said.Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam districts in north coastal Andhra bordering Odisha were experiencing the rains along with squally winds with the speed of 50 km per hour. Parts of East Godavari district were also receiving rains.As the cyclone is likely to have major impact on Srikakulam district abutting Odisha, authorities have sounded a red alert. The district officials alerted people living in villages on the banks of Nagavali and Vamsadhara rivers.The district administration was keeping a close watch on the situation as the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has warned of heavy rainfall in the district.Visakhapatnam Cyclone Warning Centre has forecast heavy to very heavy rain at isolated places in Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam districts and extremely heavy rain in Srikakulam district.According to officials in Real Time Governance Society (RTGS) of Andhra Pradesh government, squally winds with the speed of 120 to 130 km per hour are likely to blow in the coastal area of Srikakulam district.
Authorities in all coastal 'mandals' or blocks were put on high alert.Chief Secretary L.V. Subrahmanyam said a special officer was appointed for each 'mandal' as about 200 villages are likely to be affected by the cyclone, the officials have taken measures to prevent the loss of life.RTGS, which was monitoring the cyclone situation in the coastal region, said the cyclone was likely to have the maximum impact in Srikakulam district from Thursday midnight to Friday morning.Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday reviewed the situation with officials of RTGS and disaster management department. He also spoke to his Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik and discussed the situation arising out of the severe cyclonic storm. Naidu assured all possible assistance to Odisha in tackling the situation.According to IMD, 'Fani' was centred about 191 km from Visakhapatnam and 361 km from Puri on Thursday afternoon. It is likely to move towards northeast and cross the Odisha coast between Gopalpur and Chandbali on Friday with maximum wind speed of 200 km per hour.Great danger signal number 10 was hoisted at Kalingapatnam and Bheemunipatnam ports while great danger signal number 8 was hoisted at Visakhapatnam and Gangavaram ports.As the sea condition is likely to be very rough with tidal waves of 1.5 meters, authorities have advised fishermen not to venture into sea.