Cyclone Tauktae intensifying, moving towards Gujarat, says IMD

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(Eds: combining related stories) Mumbai/Ahmedabad, May 15 (PTI) Cyclonic storm Tauktae had intensified and was heading towards the coast of Gujarat and the Union Territory of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Saturday evening.

It would not affect Mumbai but could bring gusty winds and showers to the city, it said.

The storm is very likely to intensify further into a 'very severe cyclonic storm' by late Saturday night, the IMD said, adding it was very likely to move north-northwestwards and cross Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Naliya around May 18.

As it would bring very heavy rainfall in that region, cities like Mumbai would not be affected much, the IMD added.

There will be strong winds and heavy rainfall at isolated places on May 17 over north Konkan, including Mumbai, the IMD said.

In Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a review meeting on preparedness in the face of the cyclone. He instructed officials to ensure maintenance of essential services like power, telecommunications, health and drinking water.

Teams of the National Disaster Response Force are being stationed at Gir Somnath, Amreli, Porbandar, Dwarka, Jamnagar, Rajkot, Kutch, Morbi, Surat, Gandhinagar, Valsad, Bhavnagar, Navsari, Bharuch and Junagarh districts of Gujarat, an NDRF spokesperson said.

'The state government has made full preparations and a control room has been set up. Administrations of the districts in Saurashtra and south Gujarat regions, which are likely to be affected by the cyclone, have been alerted. Teams of the NDRF are reaching the state,' Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani told reporters in Banaskantha district.

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, power and communication lines especially in the districts of Saurashtra region such as Devbhoomi Dwarka, Kutch, Porbandar, Junagadh, Gir Somnath, Jamnagar, Amreli, Rajkot and Morbi.

Many places in the coastal districts of Saurashtra will receive light to moderate rainfall, and heavy to very heavy rainfall at isolated places over Saurashtra and Kutch, and extremely heavy rainfall at isolated places in Junagadh and Gir Somnath districts is likely on May 17, it said.

'Sea condition is likely to be very rough to high over the northwest Arabian sea along and off south Gujarat coast from May 17 morning, and very high to phenomenal from May 18 morning.

'Tidal wave of about 2-3 metres above astronomical tide is likely to inundate coastal areas of Morbi, Kutch, Devbhoomi Dwarka and Jamnagar district, and 1-2 metres along Porbandar, Junagadh, Gir Somnath, Amreli, Bhavnagar, and 0.5-1 metre over the remaining coastal districts of Gujarat,' the advisory said.

The Home Ministry advised total suspension of fishing operations over the northwest Arabian sea and along and off the Gujarat coast on May 17 and 18.

In Maharashtra, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray directed the authorities in coastal districts to remain alert.

Collectors of Palghar, Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg districts have been asked to take all necessary precautions, Thackeray said at a meeting of the Disaster Management Authority. PTI ND MR KA PD BNM NP NSK KRK KRK