Cyclone Fani hits Odisha, widespread rainfall likely across Assam over the weekend
According to information provided by the Borjhar-based Regional Meteorology Centre (RMC), the current meteorological analysis and numerical model guidance suggests widespread rainfall activity across Assam and other northeastern states during May 4-5, 2019.
The Regional Meteorology Centre (RMC) issued a warning on May 3, Friday that light to moderate rainfall with isolated heavy to very heavy falls is very likely over most places of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam and Meghalaya on May 4 and 5; with isolated extremely heavy falls over Assam and Meghalaya on May 4. Further, it stated that light to moderate rainfall will take place at many places with isolated heavy falls very likely over Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura on May 4.
On May 4, heavy to very heavy rainfall is likely at isolated places over Dhubri, Kokrajhar, Goalpara, Bongaigaon, Chirang, Barpeta, Kamrup (R) and Udalguri with isolated extremely heavy falls over South Salmara Mankachar and Baksa districts. Additionally, heavy rainfall is likely at isolated places over Nalbari, Kamrup (M), Darrang, Morigaon, Sonitpur, Cachar and Karimganj districts.
On May 5, heavy to very heavy rainfall is likely at isolated places over Bongaigaon, Chirang, Barpeta, Nalbari, Baksa, Sonitpur and Udalguri districts and heavy rainfall is likely at isolated places over Dhubri, Kokrajhar, Goalpara, Kamrup (R), Kamrup (M), South Salmara Mankachar, Nagaon, Hojai, Biswanath, West Karbi Anglong, Jorhat, Majuli, Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, and Dibrugarh districts of the state.
The state has been put on alert for May 4, and directed to be updated on May 5. Assam State Minister for Revenue & Disaster Management, Bhabesh Kalita has asked all Deputy Commissioners (DCs) to take up the necessary measures as a high alert has been sounded in Assam due to Cyclone Fani.
The RMC had earlier issued a warning stating that thunderstorm, accompanied by gusty winds of 30 to 40 kmph speed and lightning is very likely to occur at isolated places over Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram as well as Tripura, and heavy rainfall is likely to occur at isolated places over Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya and Nagaland for the period between April 29 and May 3.
Toll-free numbers, guidelines issued for Kamrup (M)
The Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) has been put on high alert in district Control Rooms with toll-free helpline number 1077 and State Control Room with toll-free numbers 1070 and 1079 with round-the-clock operations.
In view of the possibility of the cyclonic storm Fani hitting northeast India including Guwahati within the next 2-3 days, the District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has issued various directions and guidelines to be followed by the various line departments.
All departments have been asked to activate their rapid action teams to tackle any eventuality. An action plan is being prepared to reduce the response time during emergency, including maintenance of law and order, traffic management, readiness of manpower, alternative arrangement of power supply in case of power failure, monitoring of water levels and weather conditions and arrangement for drinking water.
Additionally, the health department has been directed to prepare an emergency response plan activating rapid action team with ambulance, doctor and paramedics. All hospitals in Kamrup (M) have been asked to be on alert for emergency response.
The State Disaster Response Force personnel have been placed in 40 locations of Assam and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has been reached for pre-position in six locations - Cachar, Barpeta, Bongaigaon, Sonitpur, Tinsukia and Jorhat districts.
Cyclone Fani impacts transportation to and fro Guwahati
With the cyclone Fani making landfall in Puri on Odisha coast on May 3 and triggering heavy rainfall coupled with high-velocity winds, as many as 250 pilgrims from Assam have been reported stranded in Odisha since the coastal state is hit by the ravaging Fani.
According to official information, most of the people were on a visit to Jagannath Temple in the coastal city of Puri and are waiting to head back to their state.
Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal has directed chief secretary Alok Kumar to take steps for evacuating tourists and devotees of Assam who may be stranded in the coastal state of Odisha. Further, the government and various non-government organisations have been evacuating the tourists, providing them with food and helping them connect their family members over phone.
The government had also arranged three special trains to evacuate tourists and devotees from Assam who are stranded in Odisha, particularly in the temple town of Puri.
The first train began its journey from Puri at 12 noon on May 2. The second train left for Howrah station from Puri with the stranded Assam tourists and devotees at 3 pm while the third train left for Howrah from the temple town at 6 in the evening the same day.
Incidentally, around 36 devotees from Assam were lodged at the Assam Jatri Niwas, a lodge-cum-tourist home for devotees from Assam visiting Puri, before they were informed about the government order to vacate the state in the wake of the alert sounded by the government of Odisha.
Millions of people have been evacuated from the eastern state of Odisha to temporary shelters as the nation braces for its worst cyclonic storm since 2014. It is being called the largest ever evacuation process in the country.
Meanwhile as many as 23 flights have been suspended to and from Guwahati. According to sources, 9 flights, which were scheduled to arrive at Guwahati on Friday, have been cancelled, while 14 flights scheduled to depart from Guwahati have also been cancelled.
In a bid for preventative measure, the Northeast Frontier Railway also announced the cancellation of long-distance trains due to Cyclone Fani.