India's National Disaster Response Force personnel arrive in preparation for Cyclone Gulab in Odisha. AP
Two fishermen were reported dead after Cyclone Gulab made landfall between the coastal states of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh just around 6pm local time (1230 GMT), bearing gusts of up to 95 kilometres (59 miles) per hour, the state-run India Meteorological Department said.
According to the authorities cyclone packing strong winds and rains barrelled into India's east coast late Sunday, forcing the evacuation of more than 200,000 people in three states to shelters.
The flooded parts of India's eastern coast with heavy rains and uprooted thousands of trees and power poles, knocking out electricity, before weakening to a deep depression on Monday.
Authorities in two coastal states had been on high alert as a rescue operation was launched after a fishing boat travelling from Odisha to Andhra Pradesh capsized during the storm, local media reported.
Cyclones are a regular menace in the northern Indian Ocean but many scientists say they are becoming more frequent and severe as climate change warms sea temperatures.
India’s National Disaster Response Force personnel ask villagers to take precautions against Cyclone Gulab. AP
Three fishermen swam to shore, two others died and a sixth person from the vessel were still missing, the Indian Express added.
There were also early reports of trees being uprooted as the Cyclone hit a coastal district in Andhra Pradesh.
The weather bureau added that Gulab was forecast to gradually weaken in the next few hours.
Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal had ordered tens of thousands of people to move to shelters, after forecasts that the storm from the Bay of Bengal would bring "strong winds and very heavy (and) extremely heavy rainfall".
In Andhra Pradesh, some 110,000 families were moved from low-lying areas to temporary relief shelters.
Odisha Special Relief Commissioner P.K. Jena said seven districts in the state were on high alert.
Evacuations were carried out amid concerns that at least one coastal district would be badly hit, Jena added in a statement.
The government banned public gatherings and closed shops as more than 1,000 rescue personnel were mobilised against a powerful cyclone barrelling towards the southeastern coast
Fourteen villages were inundated as a tidal surge breached flood dams. The dead included a minor in Barguna district on the coast and five others killed by lightening.
India has evacuated more than a million people living along its east coast ahead of an extremely severe cyclone that is due to make landfall on Friday afternoon, government officials said.
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