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Cyclone Tauktae intensifies into ‘severe cyclonic storm’, rescue teams in 5 states

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

New Delhi: The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued warning against cyclonic storm Tauktae, which is brewing in the Arabian Sea and is likely to intensify into a “severe cyclonic storm” within 12 hours. The weather office has also said it may hit Gujarat coast by Tuesday.

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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 is likely to intensify further into a “very severe cyclonic storm” in the next 24 hours. It is expected to cross Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Naliya on Tuesday aftenoon.

More than 50 teams of the NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) are on duty in five states – Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Maharashtra.

Very heavy to extremely heavy rainfall “causing flash floods and landslides” over the coastal districts of Kerala, Karnataka and Goa till Sunday and Saurashtra, Kutch in Gujarat on Tuesday and Wednesday is expected, the India Meteorological Department has said.

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Visuals showed rescue teams helping residents in Kerala’s Kochi, which was hit by heavy rainfall on Friday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a review meet this evening .

Red and orange alerts have been sounded in various parts. Low-lying areas of the Islands of Lakshadweep are likely to get flooded.

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.

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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.

Deep depression that formed over Arabian Sea near Lakshwadeep intensified overnight 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.

“We should exercise utmost caution in districts and adjoining districts where the IMD has issued a Red and Orange Alert. The cyclone is developing and moving faster than expected. It is likely to move north from the Kerala coast by tomorrow. The northern districts of Kannur and Kasaragod are most likely to be affected by the winds. Therefore, it is important to be prepared for the dangers of strong winds.”

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 media.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s office said a review meeting was held on Friday. “In a prep meeting regarding Cyclone Tauktae, CM Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray instructed the District Administration, Divisional Commissioners & District Collectors to be vigilant & well equipped in coastal areas, especially of Palghar, Raigad, Ratnagiri & Sindhudurg (sic),” a tweet read.

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