After triggering heavy rains in Mumbai and surrounding districts all through the day, Cyclone Tauktae is expected to cross Porbandar and Mahuva in Gujarat late night on Monday (May 17) the India Meteorological Department stated.
Currently, the “extremely severe cyclonic storm” lays 90 km southeast of Diu and is hurtling towards the Gujarat coast at a speed of 114 kmph, which may increase to 185 kilometres per hour.
Army has been deployed in Gujarat as the weather department expects Cyclone Tauktae to cause heavy to very heavy rainfall in isolated parts of the state. The rescue teams have a tough task at hand as the strong winds are quite capable of uprooting trees and electricity poles.
The IMD has cautioned local authorities of extremely heavy downpour over Saurashtra, Diu and several other neighbouring districts on Monday and Tuesday. Saurashtra is home to Asiatic lions. “There are around 40 lions in some patches in coastal Saurashtra, and we are monitoring them. Some lions have already moved to higher grounds. We are keeping fingers crossed, and praying the lions will be safe,” Shyamal Tikadar, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests in Gujarat, told Reuters.
Over one lakh people living in Gujarat’s coastal regions have been shifted to safe places. Maharashtra too had evacuated thousands of people on Sunday anticipating heavy damage to life and property.
News agency PTI quoted government officials to say that special arrangements have been made in hospitals treating COVID-19 patients to ensure uninterrupted electricity. Hundreds of ambulances have been kept on standby to shift patients in cases of emergency.
Meanwhile, in Maharashtra
The state reported six casualties in Konkan region due to the severe cyclonic storm even as three sailors went missing due to boat capsize, the PTI reported. The IMD had issued a red alert for Raigad district while Mumbai, Thane and Palghar districts are on orange alert. Maharashtra had evacuated thousands of people on Sunday anticipating heavy damage to life and property.
Meanwhile, two barges belonging to the Gas Authority of India (GAL) with 137 persons onboard drifted off the Mumbai coast. The Indian Navy has deployed INS Kolkata to bring them back.
The Mumbai airport will remain closed till 8 pm on Monday. The Airport Authority of India (AAI) had to divert three Mumbai-bound flights.
The NDRF has dispatched 100 rescue and relief teams to the affected states of Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat. The teams are well equipped with devices that will help them rescue people from under fallen trees and buildings.