Mumbai: Gale-force winds, heavy rainfall accompanied by high tidal waves lashed the coastal parts of Kerala, Karnataka and Goa today as Cyclone Tauktae heads northwestwards towards Gujarat. The ‘very severe cyclonic storm’ will make landfall in Gujarat on Tuesday morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecasted and will cross the coast between Porbandar and Mahuva in Bhavnagar district on Tuesday morning.
On its way, the Cyclone is likely to bring very heavy rains, gusty winds and thunderstorms in Mumbai, Thane, Palghar and North Konkan regions of Maharashtra, as well as several parts of Gujarat. Teams of the NDRF, SDRF, Maharashtra Police, Fire Brigade, Indian Coast Guard, Indian Navy and other agencies are on high alert in the entire coastal belt to tackle any eventuality.
“Very severe cyclonic storm Tauktae is very likely to intensify further during next 24 hours. It is very likely to move north-northwestwards & reach Gujarat coast in evening of May 17 and cross Gujarat coast between Porbandar & Mahuva (Bhavnagar) around May 18 early morning,” the IMD said this evening.
Here are the developments so far:
Stormy winds, heavy rainfall and high tidal waves battered Kerala, Karnataka and Goa as Cyclone Tauktae hurtled northwards towards Gujarat on Sunday, leaving six people dead, damaging hundreds of houses, uprooting electricity poles and trees and forcing evacuation in low-lying areas.
According to the Cyclone Warning Division of the IMD, by May 18 the wind speed is expected to increase to 150-160 km per hour, gusting up to 175 km per hour.
The central government held several meetings with authorities and reviewed the cyclone preparedness in Maharashtra and Gujarat and ensured that the coastal areas are cleared before the storm hits the land.
More than 100 teams of NDRF have been deployed across Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat. Of these, 54 teams of NDRF and SDRF have been deployed in Gujarat alone. An estimated 1.5 lakh people are being shifted from low-lying coastal areas in Gujarat, officials said.
The coronavirus vaccination drive has been suspended in Mumbai, Pune, as well as Gujarat in view of the cyclone.
Four deaths have been reported from Karnataka’s Uttara Kannada, Udupi, Chikkamagaluru and Shivamogga districts in cyclone-related incidents.Over 70 villages in seven districts including Dakshina Kannada, Kodagu and Hassan have been affected in the state.
Two people died in Goa, as the popular coastal state faced the brunt of a “very severe” cyclonic storm. Hundreds of houses were damaged and highways in parts of the state were blocked as trees fell at several points.
Power supply in a majority of areas of Goa was disrupted as hundreds of electric poles were uprooted due to the high-speed winds, state Power Minister Nilesh Cabral told sources.
The power disruption in Goa briefly affected the oxygen supply to coronavirus patients at the GMCH. However, the new cryogenic oxygen tank put in place prevented adversities.
After Goa, the cyclone targeted the Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri districts as it moved towards Raigad. Mumbai, Thane and Palghar districts of Maharashtra — what is collectively known as Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) — will receive rainfall all night while the cyclone whirls towards the Gujarat south coast where it is expected to make a landfall on early Tuesday.