Roaring winds and heavy rains were already lashing both states as the cyclone moved from the Bay of Bengal towards the coast and is likely to make a landfall any time after 6 p.m.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the "very severe" Phailin now lay about 90 km southeast of Gopalpur.
"It would move northwestwards and cross north Andhra Pradesh and Odisha coasts close to Gopalpur (Odisha) between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. today as a very severe cyclonic storm with a maximum sustained wind speed of 210-220 kmph gusting to 240 kmph," an IMD bulletin said.
IMD officials said it was likely to retain its intensity six hours after the landfall.
Parts of Odisha and Andhra coasts have received eight to 10 cm rainfall accompanied by winds since Friday night. The IMD has forecast heavy to very heavy rains in coastal Odisha, north coastal Andhra and isolated heavy rains in West Bengal.
The storm is expected to inundate low lying areas of Ganjam, Khurda, Puri and Jagatsinghpur districts of Odisha and Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh, said officials.
Over three lakh people in Odisha and one lakh people in north coastal Andhra were evacuated to safer places. The army, navy and air force and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were on alert for rescue and relief work.
According to , the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), around 445,000 people have been evacuated from the coastal areas of the two states. "About 360,000 people from four districts of Odisha, and 85,000 from three districts of Andhra Pradesh have been evacuated," said NDMA vice chairman Shashidhar Reddy.
"On the whole, 12,000 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel are deployed in Odisha and 600 in Andhra Pradesh," he told reporters here.
Twenty three teams of NDRF are deployed in Odisha, whereas there are 11 teams in Andhra Pradesh, he said.
According to the NDMA vice chairman, old buildings, power and communication lines, and roads will be damaged in the cyclonic storm.
"Crops will be the worst hit due to the cyclone," Reddy said.
He also said that of all the resources available to NDMA, 40 percent will be used in Ganjam district in Odisha, which is likely to bear the maximum damage.
All flights were cancelled at Bhubaneswar airport while the railways cancelled 56 trains between Howrah and Visakhapatnam and diverted some trains.
Odisha's Special relief commissioner Pradeep Kumar Mohapatra told IANS that the wind speed was picking up in several areas. In Ganjam, it had reached 60-80 kmph and the sea was witnessing high tide.
The cyclone, expected to make landfall in Gopalpur in Ganjam district, is likely to damage crops and property in the coastal districts of Ganjam, Gajapati, Khordha, Puri and Jagatsinghpur. Many other districts were also likely to be affected.
Heavy to very heavy rainfall is expected at most places. Some places may witness extremely heavy falls of about 25 cm, the weather office said.
Many low laying areas in Odisha were inundated due to heavy rains. Road communication have been disrupted in some places of Ganjam and Jagatsinghpur districts. Power lines have also hit.
The government said food grain and other essential commodities have been stocked in cyclone relief centres. People taking shelter in these centres were provided cooked food.
Andhra Pradesh chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy said about 100,000 people were evacuated to relief camps north coastal Andhra since Friday.
"We pray to God to save the state from damage," he told reporters as the cyclone moved closer to the coast, triggering heavy rains accompanied by high winds in Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts.
Officials said the sea was rough and the water had entered coastal villages. In Srikakulam district, 20 villages were inundated.
Reddy said all departments were on alert for rescue and relief work. Ministers and special officers in the coastal districts were monitoring the situation.
The army, navy, air force and the National Disaster Response Force were ready to take up rescue work. Boats were also kept ready along with wireless sets.
--IANS (Posted on 12-10-2013)