New Delhi: A severe cyclone, Phethai, is likely to hit the Andhra Pradesh coast on Monday afternoon, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) warned in its latest weather forecast.

This is the fourth cyclone to hit the eastern coast this season, and comes about a month after cyclone Gaja hit the Tamil Nadu coast on 16 November, causing massive destruction. Earlier, cyclone Daye and very severe cyclone Titli ravaged coastal areas in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.

“In the current season itself, the eastern coast has witnessed three cyclonic storms— cyclone Daye, Titli, and Gaja. Now, one is forecast. It is the first time since 1985 when seven cyclones have hit the Indian coast in a year," said M. Mohapatra, senior scientist and head, services, IMD.

The weather department said that the depression intensified into a deep depression and lay centred over southeast Bay of Bengal about 930km east-southeast of Chennai and 1,090km south-southeast of Machilipatnam in Andhra Pradesh on Friday.

“It is very likely to intensify further into a severe cyclonic storm in the next 24 hours (16-17 December) and move north-northwestwards and cross Andhra Pradesh coast between Ongole and Kakinada on Monday afternoon," IMD said in its forecast.

It is likely to make landfall on Monday afternoon.

Very rough conditions persist over southeast and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal and IMD warned fishermen not to venture into the south-west Bay of Bengal and along and off Andhra Pradesh, north Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts from 14 December to 17 December. “Those, who are out in deep sea areas are advised to return to the coast," IMD said.

A warning of heavy to very heavy rainfall has been issued for isolated places over coastal Andhra Pradesh from 15 December evening. Some coastal areas could witness extremely heavy rainfall of more than 20cm on 16-17 December. Isolated places in south Chhattisgarh and Odisha could also witness heavy rainfall on Monday. Squally winds reaching 45-65kmph are likely to blow along and off Andhra Pradesh, north Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts from the evening of 15 December. These are likely to gust up to 100kmph from 17 December, IMD said.

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