Cyclonic storm 'Jawad' is likely to weaken into a deep depression before it reaches the Odisha-Andhra Pradesh coast by Saturday noon, officials said.
The development comes as a relief for the eastern state already battered by two cyclones in the last one year - 'Gulab' and 'Yaas'.
"It is likely to weaken gradually and move northwards during the next 12 hours and then north-northwards along the Odisha coast, reaching close to Puri as a deep depression," the India Meteorological Department said.
Subsequently, it is expected to weaken further and continue to move north-northeastwards along the Odisha coast towards the West Bengal coast, IMD said in its latest bulletin.
"The system is likely to hit the Puri coast (Odisha) as a deep depression after getting weakened inside the sea during its journey to the shore," Weather Scientist US Dash of the Meteorological Centre, Bhubaneswar, said.
It is likely to make landfall somewhere in Puri district before heading out to the Bay of Bengal, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) PK Jena had said on Friday.
"Little good news. The cyclone may weaken by the time it reaches Puri coast to a deep depression as seen from @iIndiametdept latest bulletin," he tweeted on Saturday.
'Jawad' moved slightly northwards with a speed of 4 kmph during the past six hours and lay centered about 230 km south-southeast of Vishakhapatanam (Andhra Pradesh), 340 km south of Gopalpur (Odisha), 410 km south-southwest of Puri (Odisha) and 490 km south-southwest of Paradip (Odisha) at 5:30 am, the IMD bulletin said.
The entire coastal region of Odisha has been experiencing rainfall since Friday night. Paradip recorded the maximum downpour at 68 mm followed by Bhubaneswar (10.4) mm in the last 12 hours, the met office said.
On the wind speed of 'Jawad', IMD Director General Mrutunjay Mohapatra said the system is likely to rub the coast in Odisha near Puri with a sustained wind speed of 90-100 kmph gusting to 110 kmph.
Meanwhile, Jena said the state government has asked district officials to evacuate people living in vulnerable houses and low-lying areas of Ganjam, Khurda, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara and Niali area of Cuttack district from Saturday.
However, there will be no blanket evacuation as the expected wind speed is low in comparison to other cyclones, he said.
Jena said nearly 22,700 fishing boats have already returned from the sea and the Chilika lake.
"We have also asked the district collectors to shelter fishing boats from Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal, which are unable to return to their destination within the stipulated time," the SRC said, adding, fishermen have been advised not to venture into the sea till December 5.
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