The coastal areas are facing the wrath of Laila even before its official arrival, but officials are reportedly cyclone-ready.
Currently still 300 km away from Machilipatnam and 150 km from Chennai, Laila is already making its presence strongly felt in the coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
Vizag, AP's fortune capital, saw its streets flooded with rains, with daily life reaching to almost a stand-still here. Local beaches saw a flurry of activity as residents rushed to eagerly witness the high tides, and the city is holding its breath knowing that it is first in the line of cyclone Laila's fire once it reaches the coast. Congress MLA Marri Sridhar Reddy announced that Vizag has 5 helicopters to reach out in case of emergencies.
In Nellore district, Kavali saw intensive rains leading to power suspension and disruption of all activity within the area. 120 fishermen who went out fishing yesterday are still missing, officials said.
East Godavari, too, reeled under heavy showers, with locals harping that the roads of Kakinada now resemble streams. Authorities have 47,000 villagers have been shifted to a secure location. Eluru & Narsapur recieved prominent rains as well, with winds aggravating the situation.
Prakasam district cowered under rains from early this morning, and over 3 cm of rainfall was recorded here. The sea line advancing by 2 cm is keeping the locals on tenterhooks.
In Guntur, over 68 villages have been evacuated in and around Bapatla, Nizampet, Repalle, as waves rose 2 metres higher than the norm at an anticipated wind speed of 60-70 kmph.
Tirumala and Tirupati also saw roads being disrupted, trees being uprooted and the eventual suspension of power and disruption of daily life.
9 coastal districts in AP - Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Vishakapatnam, East Godavari, West Godavari, Krishna, Guntur, Prasakasam and Nellore - are high on alert.
Danger signal No. 7 (the signal of the highest intensity) has been hoisted in Kalingapatnam, Gangavaram, Kakinada, Nizamapatnam, Visakapatnam, and Machilipatnam ports.
After starting 480 km away from Bay of Bengal yesterday, cyclone Laila is expected to cross the Andhra Pradesh border in the early hours of Thursday morning.
Help arrived to the state as the home ministry deported 4 NDRF teams from Delhi.