Cyclonic storm Tauktae has severely hit coastal areas of Kerala and Karnataka and is hurtling towards the Gujarat coast. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Saturday that the storm is likely to become a ‘severe cyclonic storm’ within the next 12 hours and a ‘very severe cyclonic storm’ by Sunday.
By Saturday evening, the cyclone was heading towards Gujarat and Daman with Mumbai likely to get showers in the way, the IMD said. The cyclone is expected be over Porbandar and Naliya around May 18.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Saturday, reviewed the preparedness of various teams to deal with the cyclone and asked officials to ensure people are taken to safety.
Meanwhile, a red alert has been sounded in Kerala and in Lakshadweep. The Konkan area of Maharashtra as well as Goa are expected to receive heavy to very heavy rainfall on May 15 and 16.
K Santhosh, Director (Thiruvananthapuram), IMD, said on Saturday (May 15), “Within the next 12 hours cyclone Tauktae is expected to become a ‘severe cyclonic storm’ and by Sunday it is expected to become a ‘very severe cyclonic storm’ while moving north westward to the Gujarat coast. By May 18 it is expected to cross Gujarat by evening,” Santhosh said.
Kerala is likely to get extreme rainfall in the next 14 hours, which would be in excess of 20 cm. “Today districts of Ernakulam, Idukki and all northern districts are expected receive more than 20 centimetres rainfall and all the southern districts, South of Idukki and Ernakulam districts will receive 7 centimetres to 20 centimetres rainfall in 24 hours. The rough sea and high winds are expected to reduce from Tuesday,” he added.
Meanwhile, about 50 families were taken to safe places in Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka following continuous rains since Friday night which damaged several houses. The impending crisis forced Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai and Revenue Minister R Ashoka to call an emergency meeting with officials of Karnataka State Disaster Management Authority on Saturday.
The IMD has already warned fishermen to not enter the sea till May 17. About 100 teams with nearly 5,000 personnel of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are ready to take up relief and rescue work in the wake of impending Cyclone Tauktae. NDRF Director General, S N Pradhan, tweeted to say the teams will be deployed in affected regions of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Goa and Maharashtra.
The NDRF head said that NDRF members deployed for relief workers have already been vaccinated against COVID-19.
About 100 fishing boats have not come back to the shore in Palghar district of Maharashtra, which is a matter of worry for the local administration as cyclone Tauktae gains strength in the region.