Bhubaneswar: After crossing North Andaman Islands, the deep depression over east central Bay of Bengal Wednesday night intensified into cyclonic storm Phailin, while remaining practically stationary at about 950 km from Paradip, the IMD said in its latest bulletin.
The cyclone would intensify into a severe cyclonic storm in the next 24 hours with a wind speed of 175-185 kmph and cross north Andhra Pradesh and Odisha coast between Kalingapatnam and Paradip by October 12 night, the bulletin said.
Odisha was likely to experience rain and thundershower at many places and heavy rainfall at one or two places in the state in the next 12 hours, it said.
Odisha government issued a high alert and cancelled the Dusshera holidays of employees in 14 districts with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik asking collectors to ensure the safety of the people.
The alert was issued to Balasore, Bhadrak, Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Dhenkanal, Jajpur, Cuttack, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Puri, Khurda, Nayagarh, Ganjam and Gajapati districts.
Appealing to the people not to panic, Revenue minister Surya Narayan Patro said it was decided to deploy the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force teams in the 14 districts from today.
Earlier, the state government had asked the Union Home Ministry to keep helicopters ready for rescue and relief operations.
Special Relief Commissioner P K Mohapatra said the authorities were asked to stock up on food and relief materials at cyclone shelters.
Stating that all district collectors have been provided satellite phones so that they could remain in touch with the government, he said that mobile service providers were asked to ensure that towers were repaired immediately in case of damage in the cyclone.
Distant Cautionary Signal Number One (DC-I) was replaced by Distant Warning Signal Number two (DW-II) at Paradip and Gopalpur ports. Fishermen in the deep sea were asked to return to the coast immediately.
"Sea will be rough to very rough after 12 hours," the bulletin added.
Official sources said the cyclone situation was likely to be discussed at a cabinet meeting scheduled here today.
Meanwhile, people living in the coastal region have started panic buying of essential items.