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India prepares for impact of major cyclone sweeping through Bay of Bengal

Indian officials say they are preparing for a massive storm expected to hit the country's eastern seaboard over the weekend, as a cyclone sweeping through the Bay of Bengal intensifies.

Officials say they have cancelled holy day celebrations in coastal Orissa and Andhra Pradesh states, with forecasters saying Cyclone Phailin will hit the region Saturday evening.

While officials said they had already begun evacuations, an Associated Press photographer saw little sign of evacuations in Orissa on Thursday.

Weather forecasters had been predicting wind speeds up to 185 kph (115 mph) at landfall, and waves up to 7 feet (2 meters), but warned that the storm has been gaining strength and those numbers are expected to rise.

The Bay of Bengal has been the scene of the some of the deadliest storms in recent history. A 1999 Orissa cyclone killed 10,000 people.