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Massive Cyclone Threatens Millions in India

Tens of thousands evacuate coastal areas as 1,000-mile-wide storm approaches
Updated Friday, Oct. 10, 2013, 1:03 p.m. ET

Cyclone Phailin on Oct. 11, 2013. (NASA Worldview)

BHUBANESHWAR, India (AP) - Officials ordered tens of thousands of coastal villagers to flee their homes Friday as a massive cyclone - so large it filled nearly the entire Bay of Bengal - gathered strength and headed toward India's eastern seaboard.

Officials canceled holy day celebrations and stockpiled emergency supplies in coastal Orissa and Andhra Pradesh states, with forecasters saying Cyclone Phailin will hit the region Saturday evening.

The Indian Meteorological Department warned that Phailin was a "very severe cyclonic storm" that was expected to hit with maximum sustained winds of 210-220 kilometers (130-135 miles) per hour. If the storm continues on its current path without weakening, it is expected to cause large-scale power and communications outages and shut down road and rail links, officials said. There would also be extensive damage to crops.

Satellite images of the storm showed its spinning tails reaching nearly 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) from the east coast of India to the west coast of Myanmar, an area roughly the size of France.


In this Thursday Oct. 10, 2013, photo, fishing boats are pulled off to the shore following a cyclone alert on the Bay of Bengal coast at Puri, Odisha state, India. (AP Photo/Biswaranjan Rout)

Using trucks and buses, authorities evacuated 40,000 people from 40 villages to government-run shelters, schools and buildings in five districts of Orissa state, said Surya Narayan Patra, the state revenue and disaster management minister.

Patra said authorities plan to take another 100,000 people to safer areas before the cyclone hits.

"No one will be allowed to stay in mud and thatched houses in the coastal areas," he said.

Authorities also began evacuating 64,000 people from the low-lying areas of three vulnerable districts in neighboring Andhra Pradesh state, said state Revenue Minister N. Raghuveera Reddy.

Officials have been stockpiling emergency food supplies, and setting up shelters for people expected to flee the heavy winds and rains. The Indian air force said four transport planes and 18 helicopters were being kept ready for relief operations in the region.

Weather forecasters had been predicting waves up to 2 meters (7 feet), but warned that the storm has been gaining strength and its impact could be severe.

The Bay of Bengal has been the scene of the some of the deadliest storms in recent history. A 1999 Orissa cyclone killed 10,000 people.

RELATED ON SKYE: Stunning Hurricane Photos from Space

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bg0211

sounds terrible and we are going to send money and food and anything else BUT WE CANT FEED AMERICANS OR HOUSE THEM BUT GOD FORBID LET SOME OTHER COUNTRY BE IN NEED
LIKE HAITI, AMERICAN'S ARE SUING THE U.N. BUCAUSE THEY CONTRACTED COLLORA
this aftr the u.n. went down there and did their best-------- but i guess their best was not good enough for some

October 11 2013 at 2:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
usmaels1

Bummer. Who's going to answer the calls when I have a problem with an American company I deal with?

October 11 2013 at 2:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bg0211

sounds terrible but we can't feed our own people or house them but we sure can give food money and
anything else they need

October 11 2013 at 2:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
gigi

We could have a heart it could happen to us

October 11 2013 at 2:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
HANK

We won't be able to get any customer support at all. Not that we can understand it when we do try to get it.

October 11 2013 at 1:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
reathea

If that storm is as big as they say, those boats don't look like they are anywhere near being far enough inland.

October 11 2013 at 1:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
stengernc

Nature has had enough. Humans don't learn. They continue to over populate, ruin the environment, kill too many other species, pollute the environment, heat up the earth and act too greedy. Now they will pay huge penalties as a result....and no amount of praying will stop it.

October 11 2013 at 12:23 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to stengernc's comment
Tom

LOL @ heat up the earth. Climate change itself is already in the process of definitively rebutting climate alarmists who think human use of fossil fuels is causing ultimately catastrophic global warming. That is because natural climate cycles have already turned from warming to cooling, global temperatures have already been declining for more than 10 years, and global temperatures will continue to decline for another two decades or more.

That is one of the most interesting conclusions to come out of the seventh International Climate Change Conference sponsored by the Heartland Institute, held last week in Chicago.

October 11 2013 at 3:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
booby

odel odel odel its going to blow my noodle.

October 11 2013 at 11:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
theframingone

send the bill to Obama

October 11 2013 at 11:35 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to theframingone's comment
rcisales

Oh, don't you know we will probably send a massive amount of support!

October 11 2013 at 12:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
glers

what does that even mean?

October 11 2013 at 12:29 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to glers's comment
reathea

I would imagine it means, our government would send money and aid to another country, but can't curb it's spending enough to keep from shutting down our government. Ironic eh?

October 11 2013 at 12:58 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down
sandhillwings

"Massive Cyclone Threatens Millions in India"

Meanwhile Massive House Republican Stupidity Threatens Everyone in The USA...

October 11 2013 at 11:19 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
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