(Eds: Adds details, quotes) Ahmedabad, May 17 (PTI) With the tropical cyclone Tauktae set to cross the Gujarat coast and make a landfall as an 'extremely severe cyclonic storm' by Monday night, the state government has shifted over 1.5 lakh people to safer places and mobilised disaster response teams.
The Centre has offered all help to Gujarat to deal with the cyclone and asked the Army, Navy and the Air Force to remain on standby to assist the administration if need arises, the state government said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah are in touch with the state government and have extended all possible help, said Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani after holding a meeting with collectors of coastal districts which are likely to face the maximum brunt of the cyclone.
The PM called up Rupani and enquired about the state government's preparedness to deal with the cyclone, the CM office said here.
Modi, during the telephone conversation, assured the state government of all possible help, it said.
'Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday evening called up Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and sought details of preparation by the state government to deal with cyclone Tauktae, ' release from the Chief Minister's Office said.
The CM informed Modi about the precautionary steps taken by Gujarat government to deal with the cyclone, it said.
As per the latest prediction of the IMD, Tauktae, which has now intensified into an 'extremely severe cyclonic storm', is likely to cross the Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Mahuva (Bhavnagar district), around 20 km east of Union territory of Diu, between 8 pm and 11 pm on Monday with maximum sustained wind speed of 155-165 kmph.
'We have so far shifted over 1.5 lakh people living near the coastline to safer places. Our government is fully prepared to deal with any situation.
'Various teams comprising officials of the Road and Building, Power and Forest departments were also deployed to clear roads and restore electricity,' said Rupani.
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel have been deployed to deal with any eventuality, he said.
'The Centre is also helping us in all possible ways.
That is why Gujarat has been alloted 44 teams of the NDRF. The Centre has also asked the Army, Navy and the Air Force to remain on standby to help us if need arises,' the CM added.
The cyclone will cause light to moderate rainfall at many places in the state, heavy to very heavy showers at a few places and extremely heavy downpour at isolated places over southern districts of Saurashtra, Diu and the Gujarat region on Monday and Tuesday, the IMD said in a statement.
The sea conditions will remain 'phenomenal' (extremely rough with very high waves) till Tuesday morning before improving, it said.
For ports located close to the cyclone's possible path, the IMD has issued directions to the authorities to hoist 'Great Danger' signal numbers 8, 9 and 10 (indicating severe weather from a storm of great intensity), said Assistant Director, Met Centre, Manorama Mohanty.
She clarified that the world 'landfall' applies only when the eye of the storm, not the outer periphery, hits the coast.
'We are expecting adverse weather conditions in coastal districts like Junagadh, Amreli, Gir-Somnath and Navsari. Some places may get extremely heavy rainfall due to the cyclone,' Mohanty said.
As per the latest IMD data, the cyclone is currently centred in the Arabian Sea around 162 kilometers south- southeast of Diu.
According to the State Emergency Operation Centre, in the 24-hour period ended at 6 am on Monday, 84 talukas of 21 districts of Gujarat received light rainfall, mainly caused due to the cyclonic disturbances.
Six talukas received over one inch rainfall, it said.
Special arrangements have been made in hospitals treating COVID-19 patients to ensure electricity backup in case of power outage due to the cyclone, a government release said.
Arrangements have also been made for 161 ICU ambulances and 576 ambulances of '108' service to shift patients in case of emergency, it said.
The state government has created 35 green corridors for smooth transportation of medical oxygen for patients across Gujarat. PTI PJT PD GK RSY RSY