With both the Krishna and Godavari rivers in spate due to the heavy inflows from the neigbouring states of Karnataka and Maharashtra, the Andhra Pradesh government has sounded a high flood alert in 5 districts in the state.
With record inflows into the Krishna in 7 years, floodwaters entered the low-lying areas of Vijayawada city as the outflow into the sea from the Prakasam barrage reached 3 lakh cusecs on Sunday afternoon. The outflow is expected to double to 6 lakh cusecs by evening.
Authorities warned that a flood threat, which could be bigger than what was witnessed in 1998, loomed large over Krishna and Guntur districts. About 27,000 people were evacuated from the banks of the Krishna river.
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District officials said people living in low-lying areas as well as encroachments on river banks had been shifted to safer places.
Similarly, people from 6 villages in Thotlevalluru and 9 villages in Diviseema at the mouth of the river were evacuated as their settlements faced the threat of submergence.
As there was likelihood of breaches at some places, Irrigation Department officials mobilised
thousands of sandbags and placed them for reinforcing the embankments. "Though the outflow at Prakasam barrage is expected to reach 6 lakh cusecs, we have taken precautionary steps to face the situation even if it crosses 7 lakh cusecs," the Krishna district collector said.
The flood situation turned grim along the banks of the Tungabhadra as the inflows rose to 1.6 lakh cusecs. Backwaters of Tungabhadra inundated the low-lying areas in Kurnool city. The Joharapuram bridge across river Handri in Kurnool was submerged in the swelling waters.
A 22-year-old youth, Shahnawaz Khan, was washed away in the backwaters.
There was no let-up in the heavy floods in the river Krishna, with many of its tributaries such as the Bhima, Tungabhadra, Ujjain and Ghatarabha in spate.
Jurala, Srisailam and Nagarjunasagar dams in the state registered record inflows and outflows which were comparable only to the levels registered on October 14, 1998, when the Srisailam right bank power house was submerged.
There was a steady outflow from the Almatti and Narayanpur reservoirs in neighbouring Karnataka. Hence, the inflows and outflows at the Jurala project in AP reached a peak. Consequently, the inflows into Srisailam dam touched 7.64 lakh cusecs on Sunday.
Keeping the water level in the dam at 874 feet as against the full reservoir level of 885 feet, the authorities were releasing 6.88 lakh cusecs through all available outlets.
The downstream Nagarjunasagar dam received inflows of 6.77 lakh cusecs. The authorities were letting out 6 lakh cusecs into the downstream Prakasam barrage.
Godavari and its tributaries such as the Penganga, Pranahita and Indravati were also receiving heavy inflows from the upstream state of Maharashtra. Flood waters crossed the danger mark at Eturnagaram in Warangal and Bhadrachalam in Khammam district. The authorities have evacuated scores of families from low-lying areas in the two districts.