Fani, one of the greatest sustaining and most intense cyclonic storms, hit the Odisha coast with all its might and unleashed the winds of destruction across the coastal regions of the state.
The strength of the cyclone, which knocked the state bringing with it winds traveling at speeds of nearly 200kmph, can well be understood from a few videos that have been posted on social media by some users who braved the might of the storm.
A crane can be seen standing beside an under-construction building. Buffeted by the sheer brute force of the wind, the crane can be seen tilting slowly away from the high-rise building. As it tilts further away from the building, the speed of its fall increases. In the video, one can also see two-storeyed structures in the background. One can hear the people in the background shouting “Hey Bhagwan”, just before the crane comes crashing down across the tops of two of the smaller building in the background.
It was not clear whether there were any people inside the two buildings.
In a second video, one can see a bus being rocked by the powerful gusts of the wind just before it is picked up like a toy and turned over on its side and dragged along the road for about 10 meters even as the eyewitnesses can be heard shouting “Gira, gira…”
Cyclone Fani, the strongest to hit India in five years, ripped through Puri, where it made landfall, on Friday morning along with heavy rains and howling winds.
Accompanied by sustained winds of 18-190kmph, it wreaked havoc across the coastal town as it broke almost all coconut trees, ripped off roofs, flattened temporary structures and destroyed vehicles turning them turtle and dragging them along the road.
Five people are reported to have died in the storm that pummelled the temple town of Puri.
The storm, weakened by noon, started moving towards West Bengal and is expected to hit Bangladesh later tomorrow.
Ahead of the storm making landfall, the Odisha government evacuated 10.5 lakh people to more than 4,800 cyclone shelters and schools from different districts.
Power supply and telecommunication lines were down across Puri. While telecommunication lines would be restored by tomorrow evening, a district official said it would take about seven days for the power facilities to be restored.