Over 70,000 people were evacuated from low-lying areas on Saturday and provided shelter in relief camps. “The severe cyclonic storm will affect about 8 lakh people in the districts of Nellore, Guntur, Prakasam, Krishna and Chittoor,” revenue minister Dharmana Prasada Rao told the media on Saturday evening and added that schools in these districts have been shut down until further notice.
In Guntur, the district administration has declared five mandals — Bapatla, Paittalavanipalem, Karlapalem, Nizampatnam and Repalle — as highly sensitive while all the 10 mandals in Prakasam district were declared as highly vulnerable to the cyclone before and after the landfall. A similar alert is on in the other three districts.
Having already intensified into a cyclonic storm, Jal is expected to trigger heavy to very heavy rainfall over south coastal AP over the next 24 hours and which is likely to spread to the Rayalaseema region too in the next 48 hours. The revenue minister said Chittoor is likely to experience about 25 cms of rain due to cyclone Jal. What is worrying the state government is the possible damage to thatched and other temporary structures as well as power and communication lines. Cyclone Jal has already triggered gale wind speeds of 60-70 kmph by Saturday evening which could increase to anywhere between 120-140 kmph at the time of landfall.
Battalions of National Disaster Response Force have been stationed at Arakkonam in Tamilnadu and would be in a position to rush to Nellore district for rescue operations. The army and air force teams have also been kept on stand-by, officials said. Meanwhile, one of the 8 fishermen who ventured into the sea was washed away after their boat overturned in the rough waters off the Kakinada coast on Saturday evening.
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