Authorities have started evacuating lakhs of people from the coastal regions of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha today, a day before Cyclone Hudhud is expected to make a landfall near Vishakapatnam coast.
Nearly one lakh people have already been shifted from Andhra Pradesh districts of Srikakulam, Vijayanagaram, Visakhapatnam and East Godavari.
About 24,000 people were shifted from Visakhapatnam district, 15,000 from Vizianagaram and 46,000 from Srikakulam and 160 from East Godavari district so far, reports quoting special commissioner, state disaster management authority, K Hymavathi as saying.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast the "very severe cyclonic storm" could pack gusts of up to 165 kmph (over 100 mph) and bring rains of more than 24.5 cm in some places when it makes landfall.
Hudhud with wind speeds of 75 knots (138.9 kph) was centred near 15.5 degrees north and 86.7 degrees east, about 250 nautical miles southeast Visakhapatnam, on Friday.
Hudhud has tracked northwestward at 6 knots (11.1 kmph).
The tropical cyclone is expected to intensify and peak to around 100 knots (185 kmph) before landfall near Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh late on Sunday, forecasts based on NASA data show.
NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Hudhud yesterday as it reached hurricane-force.
The data showed the coldest cloud top temperatures were in thunderstorms. Cloud top temperatures were as cold as -53 degree Celsius, which have the potential for dropping heavy rainfall.
The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) of the US Navy indicated yesterday that animated enhanced infrared satellite imagery showed that bands of thunderstorms have become more tightly wrapped into the low-level centre.
Micro-wave satellite data also revealed an eye in the storm.
The JTWC expects the cyclone to remain on a generally west-northwestward trajectory over the next couple of days.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to chair a high-level meeting today evening to review the preparedness of both the states.
A spokesman of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said Cyclone Hudhud will cross the coast on Sunday from Vizag where heavy to very heavy rainfall is likely to be experienced. He said south coastal Odisha districts will also face the cyclone.
The IMD had upgraded Cyclone Hudhud to a ''very severe'' cyclonic storm.
Relief camps have been set up in both Andhra Pradesh and Orissa with stocks of essentials, including food, water and medicines.
At least 15 teams of NDRF, 250 Army personnel, four Naval ships and 10 helicopters and the IAF have been put on standby.
Traffic on the national highway between Payakaraopeta in Visakhapatnam district and Icchapuram in Srikakulam district on the Odisha border was stopped on Saturday morning and the Indian Railways has cancelled 40 trains between Bhubaneswar and Visakhapatnam while 40 others have been diverted.