Hyderabad: Lehar weakened from a cyclonic storm to a deep depression as it made landfall at the Andhra Pradesh coast on Thursday afternoon much to the relief of locals and the administration.
The Indian Meteorological Department withdrew its cyclone warning as Lehar weakened from 80 kmph to 20-30 kmph due to the low temperature of the water, wind shear at the coast and also winds blowing in from central India.
“Because of the incursion of drier winds into its structure, the system weakened just before it made landfall,” said S.V.S.S. Narsimha, head of department of Meteorology and Oceanography, Andhra University.
The deep depression over west central Bay of Bengal that had moved north-westwards weakened into a depression and crossed AP coast and lay centered close to south of Machilipatnam. It will further move west-northwestwards and weaken into a well marked low pressure area by Friday morning.
It rained on Thursday at isolated places over Coastal AP. Narsapuram, Masulipatnam, Yellamanchili and Amalapuram received rainfall.
However, the weather remained mostly dry over Telangana and Rayalaseema with small showers in isolated places.
The Met department, meanwhile, has warned of moderate to heavy rain or thundershowers at most places in all districts of Coastal Andhra Pradesh and also in all districts of Telangana and Rayala-seema. Rainfall at many places and isolated heavy rainfall will occur over coastal AP, Telangana and Yanam district of Pudu-cherry during the next 24 hours.
A heavy rainfall warning has been issued in the districts of Prakasam, Krish-na, Guntur, East and West Godavari, Visakhapatnam of Coastal Andhra Pradesh and in the districts of Khammam, Warangal, Nalgonda and Karimnagar of Telangana for the next 48 hours.
Squally wind speeds reaching up to 45-55 kmph, will prevail along and off Andhra Pradesh during the next 12 hours and the sea along and off Andhra Pradesh coast will be rough to very rough.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy reviewed affects of the Cyclone Lehar at a high level meeting at his camp office on Thursday.
He directed the chief secretary to closely monitor the speedy enumeration of damage to crops, houses and other damages caused by recent Helen cyclone. He directed to make all efforts to help cyclone victims, particularly the farmers.
The input subsidy for damaged coconut trees had been enhanced from Rs 150 to Rs 500 which comes to Rs 75,000 per hectare. He complimented the NDRF, Army, Navy, Air Force and the public for their precautionary measures and preparedness.
Scared farmers suffer losses
Khammam: Cyclone Lehar might have lost its strength, but farmers in Khammam district suffered huge losses without the cyclone having to do any damage.
After they were advised by the district administration that rains due to the cyclone might damage their crops, paddy farmers in the region raced against time to save their produce which resulted in them getting fleeced by harvester machine operators and middlemen as they were forced to sell their crops at throwaway prices.
Harvesting early means that a high percentage of grains will be immature. As a result, the yield will be reduced and grains will break easily. More-over, any damage to the crops at this stage would not comply with the norms of crop insurance.
Exploiting the situation, the harvester (machine) owners reportedly cornered the farmers stating that harvesting would only be done on the condition that the farmers sold the produce only to them.
With the cyclone slated to reach the district on Thursday evening, the farmers gave in to the pressure of harvester operators and middlemen.
Furthermore, the cultivators were also charged extra by the operators, who hiked the rent of the harvesting machines to Rs 3,000 from the usual Rs 2,200 per acre.
Shortage of agriculture labourers in the Agency region also added to the misery of farmers. Storage of grain was another big problem although the district administration claimed to have made arrangements.