Cyclone Tauktae has intensified and is expected to reach the Gujarat coast by May 18 and bring heavy rain to some areas of the state, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said.
The cyclone is likely to cause heavy rainfall in the coastal districts of Gujarat, including extremely heavy falls in Junagadh and Gir Somnath and heavy to very heavy rain at a few places in the districts of Saurashtra, Kutch and Diu, the IMD said.
The weather department said that Cyclone Tauktae is “very likely” to move north-northwestwards and reach Gujarat coast on May 18 morning and cross the coast between Porbandar and Naliya around afternoon/evening that day.
The Western Railway said it has cancelled 56 trains either originating or terminating in Gujarat’s Saurashtra region as a precautionary measure.
Impact on Mumbai, Maharashtra
Heavy rains were reported in Maharashtra’s coastal Ratnagiri district on May 15. Mumbai (and surrounding areas) too can expect showers from May 16 afternoon, said Shubhani Bhute, senior director (weather) IMD, Mumbai.
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 May 16-17, Bhute said.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray directed the authorities in coastal districts to remain alert. Collectors of Palghar, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts have been asked to take all necessary precautions, Thackeray said at a meeting of the Disaster Management Authority.
Teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are have been stationed at Gir Somnath, Amreli, Porbandar, Dwarka,Jamnagar, Rajkot, Kutch, Morbi, Surat, Gandhinagar, Valsad, Bhavnagar, Navsari, Bharuch and Junagarh districts of Gujarat.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) said it has kept 16 transport aircraft and 18 helicopters in readiness to deal with the situation that could arise out of Cyclone Tauktae.
The Union Home Ministry, in an advisory to the Gujarat government, said the “very severe cyclonic storm” is likely to cause damage to thatched houses, roads, and power and communication lines especially in the districts of Saurashtra region — including Porbandar, Junagadh, Jamnagar and Rajkot.
The advisory also suggested that the sea condition is likely to be very rough in the northwest Arabian Sea along and off south Gujarat coast from May 17 morning, and very high to phenomenal from May 18 morning.
The Home Ministry also advised total suspension of fishing operations over the northwest Arabian Sea and along and off the Gujarat coast on May 17-18.