At 5:30 today morning, the Bay of Bengal seemed poised to come ashore with cyclone 'Titli'. The cyclone swooped down over a vast swathe of India's east coast killing eight in Andhra Pradesh and causing widespread damage to life and property.
Very strong winds blew down trees and kuccha huts but, with three lakh people evacuated and moved to safety, Odisha at least met its target of zero casualties, till reports last came.
Rough seas and strong winds roared at landfall at Palasa in the Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh.
Late night reports, however, said six people seeking sheltering on the roof of a house went missing when rising waters of a local river washed the house away.
The cyclone also travelled inland and battered the Raigada district in Odisha.
Wind speeds stayed below the dreaded 165 kmph but killed eight in Andhra's Vijaynagaram and Srikakulam districts. The two persons killed at Srikakulam were hit by a falling tree.
Across the coastal belt of Odisha, the police and fire brigade teams were out on patrol duty last night, trying to keep the path clear for emergencies.
Inspector Kulamani Chetri said, "We don't wait for distress calls. We are ready, up all night and patrolling to help people."
Odisha's zero casualty target banked on experience of past cyclones and infrasctucture. Of three lakh people evacuated in the state, two lakh were in Ganjam district where 755 storm shelters were set up.
The DC, Ganjam, Odisha said, "We used storm shelters and identified schools and anganwadis. Patch If we compare with super cyclone and phailin and hudhud, the impact of this one is a little less."
In one such shelter in Berhampore, appetites began to replace anxiety as the storm abated, even smiles over choosing an appropriate name for this 40-day-old boy.
Shobha Behera, the boy's grandmother said, "I was scared so we left home and came to this shelter. We saw pictures of Hudhud and phailin in the past on TV... Of broken houses, trees uprooted. We have small children in the family. We couldn't take a risk. We will stay here as long as the toofan lasts."
When questioned why doesn't she name her grandson Toofan, Ms Behera said, "Ok we if say we will call him Toofan."
Toofan and lakhs of people in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh have got off relatively lightly, this time with their fears of devastation on hold till the next cyclone comes along.
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