New Delhi: Cyclone Tauktae, an “extremely severe cyclonic storm”, is “very likely” to rip through Gujarat’s Bhavnagar between 10 pm and 11 pm, with winds up to 165 km/hour. At 11.30 am it was 145 km west of Mumbai and moving at 15 km/hour.
Although the storm has bypassed Mumbai, it experienced heavy rainfall and winds up to 100 km/hour. Visuals from the iconic Gateway of India showed waves crashing into the stone culverts. The airport has been shut till 4 pm and the Bandra-Worli sea link is closed, as is the Mumbai Monorail.
Around 25,000 people have been evacuated from low-lying areas between Porbandar and Mahuva in Gujarat’s Bhavnagar. Overall more than 1.5 lakh have been shifted across the state.
Officials are bracing for very heavy rainfall and winds of up to 190 km/hour. Massive damage is expected in Porbandar, Amreli, Junagarh, Gir Somnath, Botad and coastal areas of Ahmedabad, including destruction of thatched houses. Officials have warned of damage to power and communication lines. Disruption to railway lines and signalling systems is expected, as is damage to salt pans and crops.
As per Monday reports, said nearly 7,000 fishing boats, around 2,200 from Gujarat and 4,500 from Maharashtra had been returned to harbour. In addition over 300 merchant ships were alerted or re-routed and oil rig operators were also warned.
National Disaster Response Force head SN Pradhan said over 100 NDRF teams have been activated, of which 65 were pre-deployed. Quick response medical and public health teams, with stocks of emergency medicines, have also been sent into the field.
The Air Force has deployed two C-130J and an An-32 aircraft to transport 167 NDRF personnel and 16.5 tonnes of equipment from Kolkata to Ahmedabad. The Navy is on standby in Gujarat and was engaged in search and rescue ops in Kerala on Sunday.
On Sunday Tauktae triggered gale-force winds, heavy rainfall and high tidal waves along the Karnataka, Kerala and Goa coasts, killing at least six people. It also forced the evacuation of lakhs from coastal areas, damaged houses, roads and power lines.