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Eight killed, lakhs without power as Cyclone Titli lashes Andhra-Odisha coast

Bhubaneswar : At least eight people were killed and lakhs were left without power on Thursday as Cyclone Titli hit Andhra Pradesh and Odisha destroying huts, uprooting trees, snapping electric and telephone poles, officials said.

“We fear 6,000-7,000 electricity poles may have been uprooted. Around 4,00,000 to 5,00,000 people are now without electricity,” K Dhananjaya Reddy, district administrative chief of Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh said.

Cyclone “Titli,” with gusts of up to 165 kph (100 mph), made landfall in the Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh early on Thursday, the India Meteorological Department said.

The severe cyclonic storm wreaked havoc on infrastructure, blocking roads and hampering emergency work. Television footage showed tin roofs of several houses being blown away.

“We are still assessing the damage and roadblocks are being cleared,” special relief commissioner Bishnupada Sethi said, according to wire agency Reuters.

The weather office said heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places, and extremely heavy rainfall at isolated places is very likely in Odisha in the next 24 hours.

“We believe that the entire state, except some western parts, is likely to receive rain throughout the day. Depending upon the rainfall, we may see some flood in coastal Odisha,” chief secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi said.

Cyclone Titli will, however, weaken gradually and is expected to turn into a “deep depression” by Friday morning, IMD said. “It (Cyclone Titli) is very likely to move northwestwards for next 12 hours and then re-curve northeastwards towards Gangetic West Bengal across Odisha,” it said.

“It is very likely to weaken gradually becoming severe cyclonic storm around noon, cyclonic storm around the evening of today (Thursday) and a deep depression by the morning of tomorrow, October 12, 2018,” it added.

As the landfall process started, the three north coastal districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam experienced heavy rains and high-speed gales. And at least five districts — Ganjam, Gajapati, Puri, Khurda and Jagatsinghpur — in Odisha also received rainfall coupled with high-speed winds under the impact of Cyclone Titli.

Seawater entered houses in Uppada in Andhra Pradesh’s East Godavari district as the maximum of the height of the tides was of 10ft along the coast close to the point of landfall. The highway in the Uppada-Kakinada stretch was closed for traffic as a precautionary measure.

Cyclone Titli battered Palasa municipality badly, bringing life to a standstill and several mandals in Srikakulam district lost power after the severe storm. Road communication in some places, including Odisha’s Gopalpur and Berhampur, was snapped, according to PTI.

Uddanam region with seven mandals in Srikakulam district bore the brunt of Cyclone Titli with heavy damages of coconut and cashew plantations. Standing crops in Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts also reported damages on a massive scale.