- Cyclone Fani is barreling towards India’s eastern coast with winds up to 130 miles per hour, and the category 4 cyclone is expected to make landfall near Odisha on May 3.
- The severe cyclone has intensified today, prompting officials to accelerate evacuation efforts across India’s northeastern coastline.
- Millions on India’s east coast are fleeing their homes in the country’s largest pre-natural disaster evacuation in history.
- The cyclone is expected to be the worst the country has seen in 20 years, second only to the super-cyclone that killed 10,000 people in Odisha in 1999.
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It’s the largest evacuation ahead of a national disaster in India’s history.
While the country and its citizens are no strangers to an annual cyclone season (much like hurricane season in the Atlantic), severe tropical cyclone Fani is shaping up to be one of the worst storms India’s seen in two decades. It’s expected to make landfall on Friday morning, May 3, near Puri in the Odisha region with heavy rainfall and winds up to 150 miles per hour, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.
According to the Indian Meteorological Department, Fani has been classified as an "Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm," with conditions akin to a category 4 hurricane.
NASA Worldview, Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS)
More than 100 million people live in Fani’s projected path, prompting Indian authorities to call for an evacuation of the country’s entire eastern seaboard as the storm barrels north in the Bay of Bengal.
On May 2, the Odisha government evacuated more than 3.3 million people and confirmed plans to evacuate another 8 million before the storm hits tomorrow, according to the Times of India.
India’s special relief commissioner told the Press Trust of India news agency that tourists have been asked to leave the popular beach town of Puri by Thursday night as part of the evacuation.
Officials have opened more than 800 shelters and are ready to drop 100,000 dry food packets.
Officials say Fani could be the worst storm since 1999, when a cyclone killed around 10,000 people and devastated large parts of the state.
Last week, tropical cyclone Kenneth ripped through northern Mozambique as the strongest tropical cyclone to ever make landfall in the country.That cyclone made landfall with the same strength that officials anticipate for cyclone Fani.
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