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According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), cyclone 'Helen' will cross the Andhra Pradesh coast between Nellore and Machillipatnam, close to Ongole, around Friday afternoon. (Track Live Updates)
Nellore, Prakasam, Guntur and Krishna districts in south coastal Andhra Pradesh are expected to be the worst hit. The IMD has also issued warnings to adjoining areas in north Tamil Nadu. (Massive evacuation in four Andhra Pradesh districts before cyclone Helen hits)
The system, currently located 360 km east of Ongole, is expected to bring heavy to very heavy rainfall in coastal Andhra Pradesh, Rayalseema region, north Tamil Nadu and many places in south Odisha beginning today.(Cyclone Helen to trigger heavy rains in Odisha)
Winds with speed reaching 55-65 kmph are also expected to prevail along and off south Andhra Pradesh coast commencing from today. The cyclone will kick up surging sea waves that could inundate low lying areas.
It has been raining heavily in Rajahmundry and other parts of East Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh since this morning. Tidal waves washed away a part of the sea wall at Uppada village, flooding a nearby road and affecting vehicular traffic.
Authorities have hoisted warning signals at all ports along the Andhra Pradesh coast. Fishermen have been advised not to venture into the sea.
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has rushed six teams to the region. A control room to monitor the situation has been opened at the state secretariat in Hyderabad. The control room numbers are 040-23456005, 23451043.
The weather department has clarified that Helen's intensity would be "much less" than cyclone Phailin, which hit the Odisha coast on October 12, bringing in its wake torrential rains and wind speeds of over 200 kmph in the state and in north coastal Andhra Pradesh.
The cyclone flattened thousands of homes, destroyed more than five lakh hectares of crops, knocked out power lines and claimed over 30 lives, most of them in Odisha. Casualties from cyclone Phailin were minimised after the biggest evacuation in the country's history saw some one million people leave their homes.