A powerful cyclone packed with wind speed up to 280 kmph on Thursday night crossed half of Orissa's vulnerable areas without causing any damage and veered off the coast of West Bengal, bringing a sigh of relief to the two states where thousands were evacuated.
Cyclone Sidr, bringing in its wake gale and torrential rains, crossed half of Orissa's coastline covering four of the six districts that were put on high alert without causing any damage even as the state government evacuated over 30,000 people to safety, officials said.
"The system had already gone beyond districts of Bhadrak, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur and Puri by 5 pm on Thursday," said Orissa's Special Relief Commissioner N K Sundaray.
The cyclone passed without causing any damage in the state's costline, he said.
However, the Cyclone Warning Centre in Bhubaneshwar cautioned the Orissa government to keep a vigil in at least two coastal districts Balasore and Bhadrak as the very severe cyclonic storm was expected to make a landfall near Sagar Island and Bangladesh coast late on Thursday night and trigger waves upto three to four mt above normal tide.
Since the system was moving fast in northerly direction, there was no possibility of the system changing its course and returning towards Orissa, official sources said.
Meanwhile, both the Eastern and South Eastern Railway have cancelled or terminated some of their EMU trains, scheduled either late on Thursday evening or Friday morning because of the cyclone warning.
The EMU train services on Eastern Railway's Sealdah South section will remain suspended from Thursday 11 pm to 4 am on Friday as a precautionary measures.
Train services in this section would resume again after 4 am on Friday depending on the situation, sources said.
The South Eastern Railway authority also cancelled its 13 pairs of EMU trains from Thursday night till Friday morning because of the situation.
Of these, two EMU trains were scheduled on Thursday night -- one to Haldia and the other to the sea-resort of Digha.
Another Haldia-bound EMU train was terminated at Panskura station on Thursday night, SER sources said.
Normal train services would be restored after the situation improves on Friday, the sources said.