- Gujarat and Diu coasts are under a cyclone watch
- This is the first cyclonic storm in India this year
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a review meet on Saturday evening
Cyclonic storm Tauktae has intensified and may hit the Gujarat coast by Tuesday, the weather office said on Saturday. Gujarat and Diu coasts are under a cyclone watch. This is the first cyclonic storm this year as India fights a deadly second wave of Covid, which has led to a frightening surge in the country's caseload over the last two months.
The cyclone could also bring "very heavy to extremely heavy rainfall" triggering flash floods and landslides over the coastal districts of Kerala, Karnataka and Goa till Sunday. Mumbai can expect showers from Sunday afternoon, officials said.
"Cyclone Tauktae is very likely to intensify further into a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm during next 12 hours and intensify further. It is very likely to move north-northwestwards and reach Gujarat coast in the morning of 18th and cross Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Naliya around 18th May Afternoon / evening," the IMD said in its latest update.
More than 50 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are on duty in five states - Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Maharashtra.
The Western Railway said it has cancelled 56 trains either originating or terminating in Gujarat''s Saurashtra region as a precaution.
In Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the preparedness of states, central ministries and agencies tasked with dealing with the situation arising out of cyclone Tauktae and asked them to take every possible measure to ensure that people are safely evacuated.
Heavy rain was reported in Maharashtra's coastal Ratnagiri district on Saturday, said K S Hosalikar, head SID, Climate Research and Services, IMD, Pune.
The IMD has issued an "orange alert"' which means heavy to very heavy rainfall is likely over entire Konkan and hilly areas of western Maharashtra, mainly Kolhapur and Satara on Sunday and Monday, she said.
Visuals showed rescue teams helping residents in Kerala's Kochi, which was hit by heavy rainfall on Friday.
Red and orange alerts have been sounded in various parts. Low-lying areas of the Islands of Lakshadweep are likely to get flooded.
The cyclone is likely to cause heavy rainfall in the coastal districts of Gujarat - pegged at "extremely heavy" in Junagadh and Gir Somnath and "heavy to very heavy rain" at a few places in the districts of Saurashtra, Kutch and Diu especially Gir Somnath, Diu, Junagadh, Porbandar, Devbhoomi Dwarka, Amreli, Rajkot, Jamnagar, the the India Meteorological Department has said.
Fishermen have been asked to avoid heading to Arabian Sea till Tuesday, tourism activities have been restricted and necessary precautions have been advised for naval operations in anticipation of rough sea.
The cyclone is likely to cause rain - of varying intensity -in parts of Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan too.
The Indian Air Force said it has kept 16 transport aircraft and 18 helicopters in readiness to deal with the situation that could arise out of cyclone Tauktae.
Indian Navy's ships aircraft, helicopters, diving and disaster relief teams are on standby for "rendering full support to state administrations as the cyclonic storm approaches western coasts," the spokesperson has asserted.
In a tweet, NDRF chief Satya Pradhan gave details of the teams that are on duty in various states.
#CycloneTauktae UPDATE— ѕαtчα prαdhαnसत्य नारायण प्रधान ସତ୍ଯପ୍ରଧାନ-DG NDRF (@satyaprad1) May 14, 2021
????53 #NDRF teams committed
????24 teams pre-deployment
????29 teams standby-ready
????For 5 states
Deep depression that formed over Arabian Sea near Lakshwadeep intensified last night into a into a Cyclonic Storm "Tauktae" (pronounced as Tau'Te), per an official statement from the weather office.
While Kerala is not in the predicted path of the cyclone, the state government said it is prepared as heavy rains, strong winds and strong sea gusts are expected till Sunday.
Cyclonic Storm "Tauktae" (pronounced as Tau'Te) over eastcentral and adjoining southeast Arabian Sea: Cyclone Alert for Gujarat & Diu coasts (Yellow message) pic.twitter.com/fmcTMVmrjg— India Meteorological Department (@Indiametdept) May 15, 2021
More than 300 people have been relocated from disaster-prone areas to relief camps in the state capital Thiruvananthapuram, one of the areas where a red alert has been issued.
"About 318 buildings have been set up in different parts of the district to open relief camps in case more people need to be relocated," Thiruvananthapuram district collector Navjot Khosa was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
(With inputs from agencies)