Bhubaneshwar/Kolkata: Cyclone ‘Fani’ barrelled through Odisha on Friday, unleashing copious rain and windstorm that gusted up to 175 kmph, killing at least eight people, blowing away thatched houses, and swamping towns and villages, officials said.
The monster weather system, the biggest in years, made landfall at the holy city of Puri at around 8 am and continued to wreak havoc for four hours.
Fani, which is pronounced as “Foni” and means hood of a snake in Bengali, struck with the fury and venom of a poisonous snake, bringing destruction to districts like Puri, Bhubaneswar, Khurda, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Kendra-para, Jajpur, Bhadrak and Balasore.
Though the ‘extremely severe’ cyclone unexpectedly weakened into ‘very severe’ cyclonic storm in a matter of few hours, it left a trail of devastation in large parts of coastal Odisha, with the seaside pilgrim town of Puri being the worst hit.
At least eight people have been reported dead so far, senior officials said, adding information was still awaited from many areas.
Meanwhile, as the cyclone pummelled Odisha, neighbouring West Bengal braced itself for its fury.