**Bhubaneswar:** The very severe cyclonic storm (VSCS) ‘Titli’ caused extensive damage over Odisha and adjoining north Andhra Pradesh districts due to strong wind and flood caused by extremely heavy rainfall.
The storm surge of about one meter height above the astronomical tide inundated the low lying areas near the landfall point, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
Loss of human lives has been significantly less due to cyclone, Titli compared to similar cyclones in the past, though wind speed at the time of landfall was significantly higher (140-150 gusting to 165 kmph).
Odisha is a cyclone-prone state. In 1971, around 10,000 people had died in Paradip due to a severe cyclonic storm and in 1831, as many as 50,000 people were killed when a cyclone hit Balasore.
So, the State Government and the Regional Centre of IMD have been preparing for natural disasters like these from last 20 years. “This time due to mass awareness, no one has died in the coastline. No fishing boats were stranded and since we were prepared, the damages were kept to a minimum,” an IMD official said.
Titli crossed north Andhra Pradesh and South Odisha coast near Palasa to the southwest of Gopalpur between 4:30 am and 5:30 am on October 11. Titli struck with a wind speed of 140-150 kmph gusting to 165 kmph. Accurate and early warnings of the cyclonic storm Titli helped to reduce the damages and save precious lives.
The IMD had predicted the formation of a low pressure area over Bay of Bengal and its intensification into a storm crossing Odisha and adjoining north Andhra Pradesh coasts by 8th October itself (3 days before).
“IMD also predicted very heavy rainfall over coastal and south interior Odisha 3 days in advance. The landfall point forecast error was about 27 and 42 km for 48 and 60 hrs lead period respectively,” the official added.