"Landfall has started happening," said L S Rathore, Director General, Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), at around 9-20 pm. He said it will take an hour to cross the area.
He said the cyclone cannot be classified as a super cyclone yet but its wind speed was 210 to 220 kmph.
"It is now 200 kmph and can go up to 220 kmph," he said adding that the cyclone will remain severe for another six hours. The storm surge will be from 3 to 3.5 metres.
The two coastal states are experiencing heavy rains while large parts of Odisha are without any power.
Srikakulam district in Andhra Pradesh is without power while in Odisha Gopalpur under Ganjam district has no electricity since last night.
According to media reports, seven people already died in inclement weather and from falling trees.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ‚EuroŹhas been briefed by the Cabinet Secretary on the arrangements that have been put in place to deal with the impact of the cyclone.
Immediately on return from his tour abroad, the Prime Minister reviewed the situation arising out of the cyclone.
The PM directed all possible assistance to the States concerned in ensuring the safety of the people and in relief and rescue operations.
Over 5.5 lakh people have been rescued from Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. Of them over 4 lakh were from Odisha, said Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde.
National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Vice Chairman M Shashidhar Reddy said on Saturday 11 NDRF teams are in Andhra Pradesh, and 23 teams are deployed in Odisha.
The storm is capable of affecting around 1.2 crore people.
High wind and heavy rain lashed the coastal belt of Odisha on Saturday disrupting normal life.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy held a meeting to monitor relief operations at 12 noon on Saturday.
The Odisha government has said it has set a "zero casualty target" and was seeking "100 percent" evacuation of people in areas likely to be hit by the storm.
Several cyclone centres and more than 100 shelter homes have been set up in the districts likely to be most affected by Phailin.
About 1600 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel have been dispatched to Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.
According to reports, Indian Air Force (IAF) assets in Nashik, Ranchi, Bangalore, Nagpur and Barrackpore are on standby with more than 20 planes and choppers have been deployed.
A 30-member divers' team of the Indian Navy is prepared to serve its ships after the cyclone landfall.
The storm, which has been classified as "very severe cyclonic storm", is likely to make landfall close to Gopalpur in Ganjam district in Odisha.
Earlier MET office in a bulletin at 5 pm said: "The very severe cyclonic storm, PHAILIN over west central and adjoining northwest Bay of Bengal moved north-northwestwards during past 3 hours with a speed of 20 kmph and lay centred at 1430 hrs IST of today, the 12th October 2013 over west central and adjoining northwest Bay of Bengal near latitude 18.60 0 N and longitude 85.40 0 E, about 90 km southeast of Gopalpur. It would move northwestwards and cross north Andhra Pradesh and Odisha coasts close to Gopalpur (Odisha) during 6-8 P.M. of today i.e. the 12th October, 2013 as a very severe cyclonic storm with a maximum sustained wind speed of 210-220 kmph gusting to 240 kmph."
Warning for Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal :
(i) Rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places and isolated extremely heavy falls (‚Č• 25 cm) would occur over Odisha and north coastal Andhra Pradesh during next 48 hrs. Isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall would occur over coastal areas of West Bengal commencing from afternoon of today i.e. the 12thth October.
(ii) Gale wind: Gale winds speed reaching 210-220 kmph gusting to 235 along and off coastal districts of north coastal Andhra Pradesh and south Odisha would prevail at the time of landfall. State of Sea along and off Odisha and north Andhra Pradesh coast will be phenomenal. It will be rough to very rough along and off West Bengal coast during the above period.
(iii) Storm Surge Guidance: Storm surge with height of 3.0 to 3.5 metre. above astronomical tide would inundate low lying areas of Ganjam, Khurda, Puri and Jagatsinghpur districts of Odisha and Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh during landfall.
(iv)Damage expected over Odisha and adjoining north Andhra Pradesh: Extensive damage to kutcha houses. Some damage to old buildings. Large scale disruption of power and communication lines. Disruption of rail and road traffic due to extensive flooding. Potential threat from flying debris. Flooding of escape routes. Extensive damage to agricultural crops.
(v) Action suggested: Fishermen are advised not to venture into sea along north Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal coast. Total suspension of fishing operations. Large scale evacuation of population from coastal areas. Total suspension of rail and road traffic in vulnerable areas. People in affected areas to remain indoors.
Post landfall outlook :
Even after landfall the system is likely to maintain the intensity of very severe cyclonic storm for 6 hours and gradually weaken into a cyclonic storm in subsequent 6 hours while moving northwestwards across interior Odisha. Under its influence rainfall at most places with heavy falls at a few places and extremely heavy falls at isolated places would occur over Odisha.
Rainfall at many places with isolated heavy to very heavy falls would also occur over north coastal Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. Squally wind speed reaching 100-120 kmph would also prevail for 6 hours and 60-70 for subsequent 6 hours over Odisha during the same period.
Fishermen are advised not to venture into the sea during next 12 hrs.
Meanwhile, Odhisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said the state government is fully prepared to deal with the cyclone and ensure minimal human casualty.
According to IAF, two IAF IL -76 have airlifted NDRF teams and equipment to Bhubneshwar. Other IAF assets are on stand by at various bases including - Raipur, Nagpur, Jagdalpur, Barrackpore, Ranchi and Gwalior.
IAF commits 2 C130J, 18 helicopters, 2 AN-32s to the effort and the aircraft are already positioned to move at short notice.
IAF is fully geared up to assist the State administration and has tasked its Eastern Air Command to coordinate the entire relief operation with the task force under being positioned at Barrackpore, it said in a communique.
Odisha State Emergency Operation Centre No- 0674-2534177, Ganjam- 06811-263978 Puri- 06752-223237 Jagatsinghpur- 06724-220368 Kendrapada- 06727-232803 Bhadrak- 06784-251881 Balasore- 06782-262674 Mayurbhanj- 06792-252759 Jajpur- 06728-222648 Cuttack- 0671-2507842 Khordha- 06755-220002 Nayagarh- 06753-252978 Gajapati- 06815-222943 Dhenkanal- 06762-221376 Keonjhar- 06766-255437
Andhra Pradesh Emergency Nos.
‚EuroĘ Srikakulam - 0894-2240557/ 9652838191 / Visakhapatnam- 1800425002 / Vizianagaram- Toll Free: 1077/0892-2236947 / East Godavari- 0884-2365506
West Godavari- 0881230617 / Krishna- 086722525 Toll Free - 1077 / Guntur- 08632345103/08632234990 / Nellore- 08612331477
--IBNS (Posted on 12-10-2013)