• A deep depression in the Bay of Bengal is very likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm ‘Phethai’. According to Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), “This cyclonic storm, ‘Phethai’ is very likely to hit Andhra Pradesh’s coast on Monday afternoon.”
• This information has also been assured by The Real Time Governance Society (RTGS).
• They have sounded a high alert that the deep depression in the Bay of Bengal is likely to intensify into a cyclone by midnight of Saturday.
• The deep depression located about 910 km from Chennai and 960 km from Sriharikota of Nellore district, is moving with a speed of 11 km per hour towards central coastal Andhra Pradesh.
• Cyclone Phethai will further intensify into a ‘severe cyclonic storm’ with winds of up to 110 kmph, before dropping in intensity back to a cyclonic storm by evening on 17 December (Monday).
• CM, N. Chandrababu Naidu reviewed the situation and asked the District Collectors to be prepared to meet any eventuality. He asked the Heads of Departments (HoDs) to be present at the RTGS and even enquired about the preparedness of the District Collectors, Revenue, Mandal Officers, Fire, NDRF, Agricultural, Electricity, Animal Husbandry, School education and other departments.
• Chief Secretary, Anil Chandra Punetha asked the HoDs to deploy one senior official to the RTG State Command Centre to tackle the situation and for better coordination with the field level staff.
• RTGS CEO Babu A. said, “The necessary arrangements were made at the RTGS to monitor the situation round-the-clock. The specially trained staff has been deployed in Parishkara Vedika, 1100 call centre, to assist the public for the help. So far 48,000 fishermen, farmers, have been sensitized through IVRS (interactive voice response system) calls. The 133 vessels in the sea were returning to the shore. The RTGS was working in coordination with the Fisheries Department.”
• The government made all arrangement for pre-procurement of paddy and directed civil supplies department to procure paddy round the clock. Usually procurement centres work up to 5 p.m., but in view of the assumed disaster, the government ordered to open the procurement centres 24 x 7.
• Not to forget that Cyclone Phethai is the third cyclone in the northeast monsoon season after cyclones Gaja and Titli.
• In November, Cyclone Gaja claimed 45 lives and damaged over 1.17 lakh houses. Around 57 people died in Cyclone Titli in Odisha in October.
Mains Paper 1: Geography
Prelims level: Storm Phethai
Mains level: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc