'Tuaktae' now very severe cyclonic storm, to reach Guj coast

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Mumbai, May 17 (PTI) The severe cyclonic storm 'Tauktae' over the Arabian Sea has intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm and is expected to reach the Gujarat coast Monday evening, the India Meteorological Department said.

Around 1.5 lakh people are being shifted from low- lying coastal areas in Gujarat while 54 teams of the NDRF and SDRF remained deployed after IMD's warning that Tauktae will reach the state coast on Monday evening and cross it Tuesday morning.

'The cyclonic storm 'Tauktae' has further intensified into an Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm (ESCS) at 000 UTC and lay centred at 18.5N/71.5E, with a ragged eye,' the IMD tweeted Monday morning.

'Very Severe Cyclonic Storm 'Tauktae' over the East- central Arabian Sea intensified into an Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm: Cyclone Warning & post-landfall outlook for Gujarat & Diu coasts (Red message),' the IMD tweeted.

Skymet, a private company that provides weather forecast and solutions said landfall is likely between Gujarat's Mahuva and Porbandar areas and close to Diu.

'A swathe of 100 km on either side of the anticipated strike always remains vulnerable,' it said.

Gujarat additional chief secretary Pankaj Kumar said 25,000 people have already been moved to safer places.

In Mumbai, five temporary shelters each have been put up in 24 civic wards of the metropolis so that citizens can be shifted there if necessary.

The IMD has issued an orange alert for Mumbai warning of very heavy rains at isolated places with strong winds on Monday as Tauktae is likely to pass close to the Mumbai coast.

Three teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) stationed in the western suburbs of Mumbai have been put on alert. Teams of the Indian Navy are also kept on standby, officials said.

Meanwhile, in Jalgaon in north Maharashtra, two persons died and another was injured after a tree fells on a hut, an official said. It wasn't clear if the incident was directly related to the severity of the cyclonic storm. PTI VT VT VT

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