Cyclone Tauktae intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm on the morning of Sunday, 16 May, with at least eight people being reported dead in Karnataka, Kerala and Goa.
While at least people have been reported dead in Karnataka, at least two deaths have been reported each from Kerala and Goa.
Meanwhile, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said that the cyclone is likely to make a landfall in Gujarat on 18 May.
“It is very likely to intensify during the next 24 hours and is likely to move north-northwestwards and reach Gujarat coast in the evening hours of 17 May and cross Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Mahuva (Bhavnagar district) early morning on 18 May,” the IMD said.
Meanwhile, the Goa Airport in a statement said that all airlines have cancelled their flight operations to and from the state for Sunday considering the prevalent weather conditions.
Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday held a meeting with Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray and Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani, and the administrators of Daman and Diu and Dadra Nagar Haveli to discuss the preparedness
States Gear Up for Tauktae
After heavy rains in coastal and Malnad regions of Karnataka on Saturday, 15 May, four people were reported dead and 318 others were displaced. The cyclonic storm has affected 73 villages, specially in the sea-front areas in Udupi.
Eleven relief camps have been opened in the state. The four deaths were reported in Uttara Kannada, Udupi, Shivamogga, and Chikkamagaluru districts. The deaths occurred due to chance accidents — lightning in Shivamogga, electrical mishap in Udupi, and a house collapse in Chikkamagaluru. In Uttara Kannada, a fisherman who was trying to tie his boat was hit by another boat leading to his death, The News Minute reported.
Kerala is expected to witness light to moderate rainfall at many places, with heavy to very heavy rainfall at isolated places on Sunday and heavy falls at isolated places on Monday, 17 May.
In Konkan and Goa, light to moderate rainfall is predicted at most places with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places over Konkan, Goa, and adjoining Ghat areas on 16 May and heavy falls at isolated places on Monday over north Konkan areas.
The IMD also 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 Sunday and Monday.
The coastal districts of Gujarat are also expected to receive heavy rainfall, including extremely heavy falls in Junagadh and Gir Somnath.
IMD further said that heavy to very heavy rain is expected in the districts of Saurashtra, Kutch and Diu, namely Gir Somnath, Diu, Junagadh, Porbandar, Devbhoomi Dwarka, Amreli, Rajkot, Jamnagar.
56 trains either originating or terminating in Gujarat’s Saurashtra region have been cancelled as a precaution, the Western Railway announced.
KS Hosalikar, head SID, Climate Research and Services, IMD, Pune added that heavy rains were reported in Maharashtra's coastal Ratnagiri district on Saturday. Mumbai can expect showers from Sunday afternoon, said Shubhani Bhute, senior director (weather) IMD, Mumbai.
While at least 23 fishermen from Kerala are feared missing, 19 fishermen’s boats are yet to return to ports in Gujarat.
PM Modi, HM Amit Shah Hold Strategic Meets
Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday held a meeting with chief ministers of Gujarat, Maharashtra, and administrator of Daman and Diu and Dadra Nagar Haveli to check preparedness ahead of the cyclone.
In Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had held a meeting on Saturday to review the preparedness of states, central ministries, and agencies concerned with the situation arising out of Cyclone Tauktae and asked them to take every possible measure to ensure that people are safely evacuated.
Modi also called for ensuring maintenance of all essential services such as power, telecommunications, health, and drinking and their immediate restoration in the event of damages caused to them, a statement said.
At the high-level meeting that was attended by Home Minister Amit Shah and top officials concerned, Modi directed them to ensure special preparedness on COVID management in hospitals, vaccine cold chain, and other medical facilities on power back up and storage of essential medicines and to plan for unhindered movement of oxygen tankers, the PMO said.
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 Indian Air Force announced that it has kept 16 transport aircraft and 18 helicopters in readiness to deal with situations that could arise out of cyclone Tauktae.
Very Severe Cyclonic Storm
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani was quoted as saying, “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,” The News Minute reported.
“Sea condition is likely to be very rough to high over the northwest Arabian sea along and off south Gujarat coast from 17 May morning, and very high to phenomenal from 18 May 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 the Gujarat coast on 17 and 18 May.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has also directed 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.
(With inputs from PTI and The News Minute)
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