Hyderabad: Cyclonic storm 'Lehar' over west-central Bay of Bengal, which was expected to cause extensive damage in coastal Andhra Pradesh, weakened into a deep depression on Thursday  bringing much-needed relief to people, as its effect may not be as lethal as feared.
The system lay centred at 0530 hours on Thursday over the west-central Bay of Bengal, about 120 kms east-southeast of Machilipatnam in Andhra coast, according to an IMD bulletin.
It would move west-northwestwards, weaken further and cross Andhra Pradesh coast near Machillipatnam as a depression.
Under its influence, rainfall at most places with isolated heavy to very heavy falls would occur over coastal Andhra Pradesh and Yanam district of Puducherry during the next 24 hours.
Rainfall at most places with isolated heavy to very heavy falls would also occur over Telangana during the next 36 hours. Squally winds with speed reaching 45-55 kmph gusting to 65 kmph would prevail along and off Andhra Pradesh during the next 12 hours.
The state of sea along and off Andhra Pradesh coast will be rough to very rough. 'Lehar' is now expected to cause only minor damage to loose and unsecured structures and the fishermen have been advised not to venture in the sea.
As 'Lehar' was a 'very severe cyclonic storm', the Andhra Pradesh government had made elaborate arrangements to face the situation and also evacuated over 27,000 people living in low-lying areas to safer places. It has requisitioned the services of Army and additional teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), in addition to its own administrative machinery.


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