Severe cyclonic storm Tauktae intensified overnight into a "very severe cyclonic storm" over the east-central Arabian Sea. It is very likely to intensify further and reach the Gujarat coast in the evening of May 17. It is expected to make landfall the next morning between Porbandar and Mahuva in Bhavnagar district
Thousands of people in the western coastal states of Kerala, Karnataka, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa have been evacuated to safer locations as the country braces for Cyclone Tauktae which is expected to hit the Gujarat coast on Monday evening with wind speeds of 175 km per hour.
Kerala, Karnataka and Goa are already reeling from flash floods and high velocity winds which form part of the extreme cyclonic weather phenomenon. Four deaths have been reported from Karnataka.
Severe cyclonic storm Tauktae intensified overnight into a "very severe cyclonic storm" over the east-central Arabian Sea, the weather office said this morning. It is very likely to intensify further and reach the Gujarat coast in the evening of May 17. It is expected to make landfall the next morning between Porbandar and Mahuva in Bhavnagar district, it added.
The weather office said wind with speeds reaching 60-70 kmph, gusting to 80 kmph, along and off Maharashtra and Goa coasts are expected on Monday.
Meanwhile, after a high-level review taken on Saturday by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to assess the preparedness for the cyclone, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has positioned 50 teams which are equipped with boats, tree-cutters, telecom equipment. Another 15 teams are being airlifted for deployment in Gujarat.
Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard on high alert
The Indian Coast Guard, Navy, Army and Air Force units have been put on standby as surveillance aircraft and helicopters continue to carry out aerial sorties in areas likely to be impacted by cyclone Tauktae.
Another 40 Coast Guard Disaster Relief Teams with inflatable boats, lifejackets are on standby all along the western coast for undertaking disaster response operations. Medical teams & ambulances have also been kept stand by for swift mobilisation.
The states and districts likely to fall on cyclone path have also been told to make adequate power back-up arrangements in all Covid hospitals, labs, vaccine cold chains and other medical facilities.
Centre in touch with states
Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday afternoon reviewed preparations to tackle cyclone Tauktae at a high-level meeting with the Chief Ministers of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Administrator of Daman & Diu and Dadra Nagar Haveli.
Shah specifically reviewed the preparedness of all health facilities in the areas likely to be impacted by the cyclone and directed officials to ensure adequate stocks of all essential medicines and supplies in hospitals, keeping in view the likely disruption of vehicular movement.
This included reviewing the impact of the cyclone on the oxygen generation plants and arrangements for possible evacuation of patients from the temporary hospitals set up near the oxygen generating plants in Maharashtra and Gujarat.
Plans to keep a buffer stock of oxygen for two days and movement of oxygen tankers to allocated states were also discussed in the meeting as states were advised to contact a 24x7 control room functioning at the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for any assistance.
Mumbai shifts Covid patients
Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has warned that Cyclone Tauktae is expected to intensify into a very severe cyclonic storm. The weather department also said that the cyclone is likely to pass close to Mumbai and may cause heavy rainfall in the city.
Considering the warning, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has shifted more than 500 Covid-19 patients to state and civic-run hospitals in Mumbai. As a precautionary measure, the BMC is also contemplating shutting down the Bandra-Worli Sea Link.