On top of all the other trials with the civil conflict affecting our brethren in India – a hurricane the size of Katrina is bearing down on Andrha Pradesh. Prayers for them are needed.
Super cyclone Phailin with winds of 160 MPH (140 knots) is churning towards Andrha Pradesh and Odisha state. While the storm’s track at this writing is forecast to strike to the North of where the Gampala family ministry is located in West Godavari District, the winds and heavy rains will undoubtedly cause flooding and disruption to electrical lines. Brethren may not have power for a very long time, and given the strike and civil conflict that has kept them in the dark for the better part of two months – this storm threatens to make the situation even more dire.
Tens of thousands fled their homes in coastal areas of eastern India and moved to shelters on Friday, bracing for the fiercest cyclone to threaten the country since a devastating storm killed 10,000 people 14 years ago.
Large waves were already pounding beaches in the state of Andhra Pradesh over a day before Cyclone Phailin was due to hit.
Satellite images showed Phailin some 500 km (310 miles) off the coast in the Bay of Bengal and likely to make landfall on Saturday evening, with widespread flooding expected from surges.
The images showed the storm covering an area roughly half the size of India. Some forecasters likened its size and intensity to that of hurricane Katrina, which devastated the U.S. Gulf coast and New Orleans in 2005.
Powerful cyclone Phailin heads for India’s east coast.
Over the last day, a cyclone over the Bay of Bengal has explosively strengthened as it marches towards the east coast of India, presenting a clear and present danger to the country of over a billion people.
In the last 18 hours, Phailin’s peak winds have increased an astonishing 80 mph (or 70 knots), a rare rate of intensification.
Those wind speeds would make Phailin the equivalent of a category 5 hurricane, capable of catastrophic damage.
Phailin is not only intense, but also large.
“It’s equivalent to Katrina in size,” Maue says.