Dark clouds hover over the shore, in view of Cyclone Asani, in Srikakulam, Andhra Pradesh, on Tuesday. Image Credit: ANI

New Delhi: As the severe cyclonic storm Asani moved towards Andhra Pradesh, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Tuesday issued a red alert for the state’s coastal areas in view of the storm surge, heavy rainfall in several areas, gale and squally winds, and local area flooding.

Rains accompanied by gusty winds lashed many parts of the coastal Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday as the severe cyclonic storm ‘Asani’ in Bay of Bengal moved closer to the coast.

Several areas in Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam, Anakapalli, Kakinada, Konaseema, West Godavari, Krishna, Bapatla, Guntur, Nellore and Tirupati districts were experiencing light to moderate rains under the impact of severe cyclonic storm.

Coastal city of Visakhapatnam was receiving heavy spells of rain with gusty winds, throwing the normal life out of gear and disrupting vehicular traffic.

Authorities have suspended all flight operations at Visakhapatnam Airport as a precautionary measure.

However, Asani is not likely to make a landfall.

“It is very likely to move nearly northwestwards and reach west-central Bay of Bengal, close to Kakinada-Vishakhapatnam coasts by Wednesday morning. Thereafter, it is very likely to re-curve slowly north-northeastwards and move along Andhra Pradesh coast between Kakinada and Vishakhapatnam and then emerge into northwest Bay of Bengal off north Andhra Pradesh and Odisha coasts,” the IMD bulletin said.

“It is likely to weaken gradually into a Cyclonic Storm by Wednesday morning itself and into a depression by May 12 morning.”

The IMD has predicted a storm surge of height about 0.5m above astronomical tide that is likely to inundate low lying areas of Krishna, East and West Godavari, and Vishakhapatnam districts of Andhra Pradesh.

Fishermen have been warned of total suspension of fishing operations over west-central Bay of Bengal on Tuesday and Wednesday while over northwest Bay of Bengal, the warning will continue till May 12.

The IMD has also warned of regulation of offshore operations till May 12.

Even as light to moderate rainfall is predicted at many places with heavy to very heavy rainfall at isolated places continued over coastal Andhra Pradesh and rainfall at a few places with heavy rainfall at isolated places over coastal Odisha from Tuesday night itself, from Wednesday, similar light to moderate rainfall is again predicted at most places with heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places with isolated extremely heavy rainfall likely over coastal Andhra Pradesh and heavy rainfall at isolated places likely over coastal Odisha and adjoining coastal West Bengal.

On May 12, the IMD said, light to moderate rainfall is likely at a few places with heavy rainfall at isolated places likely over coastal areas of Odisha and West Bengal.

Gale wind speed reaching 100-110 kmph, gusting to 120 kmph, is prevailing around the system centre over west-central Bay of Bengal. It would gradually decrease becoming 85-95 kmph gusting to 105 kmph over west-central and adjoining northwest Bay of Bengal from midnight tonight and become 75-85 kmph gusting to 95 kmph from Wednesday morning over the same region.

Further, it would decrease to 55-65 kmph, gusting to 75 kmph over northwest and adjoining west-central Bay of Bengal from morning of May 12.