The India Meteorological Department warned of extensive damage to kutcha houses, those made of flimsy materials like mud and bamboo, as well as damage to old buildings.
Power and communication lines are likely to suffer large-scale disruption. Extensive flooding will also disrupt rail and road traffic, and crops are likely to suffer major damage, it said.
In Gopalpur, a coastal resort town in Ganjam, restaurants were shuttered and streets deserted Saturday afternoon, as rain lashed down. Tourists and local residents were asked to leave the town.
Power was out in coastal areas including Kalingapatnam, from where about 80,000 people were evacuated to relief camps, CNN-IBN reported. Some fishermen earlier told the broadcaster they had defied the order to leave, anxious to see what happened on the shore.
Some fear a repeat of what happened on October 29, 1999, when Cyclone 05B, also known as the Odisha Cyclone, made landfall in the same area, killing 10,000 people. It was the strongest tropical cyclone recorded in the Bay of Bengal, with winds of 155 mph at landfall, and it caused more than $2 billion in damage.
In advance of the storm, military units and National Disaster Response Force personnel were deployed to coastal areas with relief supplies and medical aid, CNN-IBN said. More than 20 medical teams flew to the region.
Federal and state government ministers are being briefed on the situation, the cabinet secretary said.
All flights to Odisha have been canceled and train services in the state are also disrupted, CNN's sister network reported.
International humanitarian organization World Vision said it was helping local community groups prepare for the cyclone's arrival.
"In a storm of this magnitude there is the potential for widespread damage to crops and livestock in the low-lying coastal areas and houses completely wiped away," said Kunal Shah, the head of World Vision's emergency response in India. "So while we are praying this storm loses intensity, we're also preparing."
The organization has worked for the past several years to train local people in disaster preparedness -- including search and rescue, basic first aid and how to protect livestock -- and has thousands of emergency response kits ready to hand out where needed.
"We believe communities are better prepared than they were when the devastating cyclone hit in 1999," said Shah.