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Cyclone Phethai is likely to cross Andhra Pradesh coast on Dec 17

After Cyclone Gaja, another deep depression brewing over the Bay of Bengal is set to turn into a cyclonic storm. The Cyclone was named Phethai which is expected to make landfall Monday afternoon, between Ongole and Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh sometime Monday afternoon, according to the IMD. Rain is likely to start falling in coastal Andhra Pradesh and adjoining areas in north coastal Tamil Nadu on Saturday evening, according to the IMD.

It has predicted extreme rainfall (up to 200 mm) at isolated places in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu over the next two days after landfall.  Although Phethai is currently building up, there are signs it may weaken to Depression strength just before landfall. After landfall, it could continue to weaken and dissipate. According to the latest reports, Cyclone Phethai (currently a deep depression) is making slow progress.

As of early Saturday morning, the system was located in the Bay of Bengal about 900 km off Machilipatnam (Andhra Pradesh), according to the India Meteorology Department’s (IMD) bulletin. The national weather body expects the depression to intensify into a cyclonic circulation by Saturday evening with winds up to 90 kmph.

By Sunday morning, Phethai may gain further strength and officially become a ‘Severe Cyclonic Storm’ with winds up to 100 kmph, the IMD says. However, other weather models offer alternate predictions with landfall locations ranging from around Nayudupeta in southern Andhra Pradesh to further north near Amalapuram—a range of over 500km.

On Friday, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu held emergency meetings with officials and directed them to start implementing precautionary measures immediately. The IMD has issued a warning about rough seas off the east coast from Friday through Monday. Fisher-folk have been asked not to venture into the sea during this period.

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