Nearly a ‘ghost town’ as Cyclone Fani smacks Odisha, one of the biggest storm with 180 km/hr winds

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BHUBANESWAR | May 3, 2019 (AFP):

On Friday, one of the biggest storms 'Cyclone Fani' slammed into India, uprooting the trees, damaging houses and blowing away food stands and cutting off power and water.

The monster weather system, which threatened to bring a dangerous storm surge that could flood low-lying areas, was packing winds of up to 180 kilometres an hour as it ripped into the country's east coast.

Forecasters say the areas could see gusts of up to 200 kilometres per hour, equivalent in strength to a Category 3 to 4 hurricane.

In recent days authorities in Odisha, where 10,000 people died in a 1999 cyclone, have evacuated more than a million people as they fret about a possible 1.5-metre storm surge.

Hundreds of thousands more people in West Bengal state have also been given orders to flee. Special teams were moving through holiday villages urging tourists to get to safety.

National Disaster Response Force shared images of several uprooted trees along the coast in Andhra Pradesh state to the south.

The NDRF teams were trying to remove the fallen trees and branches to ensure they don't become projectiles if the winds intensify.

Fani was expected to barrel northeastwards into West Bengal state and towards Bangladesh, on a trajectory that will take it over the homes of 100 million people.S