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Cyclone Hudhud due to slam into India's east coast
by Staff Writers
New Delhi (AFP) Oct 10, 2014

Japan braces for powerful typhoon Vongfong
Tokyo (AFP) Oct 10, 2014 - Japan was on Friday bracing for powerful Typhoon Vongfong, with the monster storm expected to slam into the archipelago as early as the weekend.

Packing gusts of up to 252 kilometres (156 miles) per hour, the typhoon was churning toward the southern Okinawa island chain at a speed of 10 kilometres per hour, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center has downgraded the storm from a supertyphoon, as powerful as Haiyan, which ripped through the Philippines in 2013, but Japanese officials said it remained "large and very strong".

Haiyan left nearly 8,000 people dead or missing with gusts of around 300 kilometres per hour, generating giant waves that swamped coastal communities.

Vongfong was on course to hit islands north of Okinawa before making landfall on the southernmost main island of Kyushu on Monday.

Satellite images of Vongfong show a perfectly formed eye in the middle of a gigantic swirling disc of cloud that appears to be sucking up weather systems from across the Tropics.

Another powerful typhoon whipped through the country earlier this week, leaving 11 people dead or missing and causing travel chaos.

Indian authorities were setting up relief camps and stockpiling food Friday as they braced for a "severe cyclone" due to slam into the country's east coast this weekend.

Cyclone Hudhud, building over the Bay of Bengal, was set to make landfall at Visakhapatnam on Andhra Pradesh state coast by midday Sunday, the Indian Meterological Department said.

"We've already set up rescue camps and arranged for food and other necessities," Parakala Prabhakar, communication advisor to the Andhra Pradesh government, told AFP by telephone from Hyderabad.

Packing winds of up to 155 kilometres per hour (96 miles), Hudhud was expected to also smash into neighbouring Orissa where Cyclone Phailin last October killed at least 18 and left a massive trail of destruction.

The navy said in a statement it has "assumed a high degree of readiness" as "the severe cyclone Hudhud is poised to strike".

Naval ships are standing by equipped with "divers, doctors, inflatable rubber boats, integral helicopters and relief material," the statement said.

Hudhud could cause widespread damage to flimsy housing and other structures and disrupt power and communications in low-lying coastal areas.

India has two categories of tropical storms based on wind speeds. Cyclones like Hudhud have wind speeds up to 167 kph.

The second, like Cylone Phailin, has winds of up to 220 kph and is capable of causing extensive damage.

Disaster officials in Andhra Pradesh and Orissa said they were not taking any chances and were fully prepared for whatever happens.

"A special relief commissioner has already been appointed to look into prevention, rescue and rehabilitation in north coastal Andhra Pradesh," Prabhakar said.

In Orissa, where more than 8,000 people were killed in a 1999 cyclone, the state government was set to conduct a mock evacuation drill on Saturday.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has also asked federal Defence Minister Arun Jaitley for the army to be deployed in four districts likely to suffer from the storm.

Residents in Orissa's Ganjam district, which bore the brunt of the 2013 cyclone, were dreading a repeat of the devastation.

"We have made all the arrangements this time because of the scale of devastation that we saw in 2013 and 1999," Prabhat Ranjan Mahapatra, the deputy relief commissioner of Orissa, told AFP.

The weather office has urged fishermen to stay ashore until the storm is over.

India's eastern coast and neighbouring Bangladesh are routinely hit by bad storms between April and November that cause deaths and widespread damage to property.


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Supertyphoon rivalling Haiyan on course for Japan
Tokyo (AFP) Oct 08, 2014
A supertyphoon on course to hit Japan over the weekend is as powerful as the deadly storm that ripped through the Philippines in 2013 killing thousands of people, meteorologists said Wednesday The monstrous storm, named Vongfong, was picking up speed as it churned through the far west of the Pacific Ocean. "Its strength is very much similar to Haiyan," which ravaged the Philippines in No ... read more

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