Saturday, June 19, 2021

States brace as cyclone nears with strong winds, heavy rain

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The cyclonic storm Tauktae (pronounced as Tau’Te) intensified on Tuesday evening and started heading towards the coast of Gujarat and the Union Territory of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, which have been put under cyclone watch. This cyclonic storm comes at a time when India is battling a raging second wave of Covid-19 pandemic, which has infected 24,679,650 and killed 270,259 people, so far.

According to the India Meteorological Department, the cyclonic storm is very likely to intensify further into a “very severe cyclonic storm” and move north-northwestwards and cross Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Naliya around May 18.

The Met department has recommended a total suspension of fishing operations in Gujarat and other states on the west coast. It has also asked for regulation of rail and road traffic and advised people to stay indoors.

In view of the warning, Gujarat has geared up adequately to ensure there is no casualty and set up a control room, chief minister Vijay Rupani said even as a central advisory predicted damage to thatched houses, roads, power and communication lines in the Saurashtra region.

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.

The weather department has also predicted rainfall of varying intensity, from light and moderate to extremely heavy, due to the impact of cyclone in Lakshadweep Islands, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Konkan and Goa, Gujarat and West Rajasthan. Red and orange alerts have been sounded in various parts.

More than 50 teams of the National Disaster Response Force are on duty in five states – Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Maharashtra.

While Kerala is not in the predicted path of the cyclone, the state government said it is prepared as heavy rains, strong winds and strong sea gusts are expected till Sunday. The state has reported two deaths due to the torrential rains. In Tamil Nadu, more than 300 people have been relocated from disaster-prone areas to relief camps in Thiruvananthapuram.

The storm could also bring gusty winds and showers to Mumbai. “In a prep meeting regarding Cyclone Tauktae, CM Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray instructed the District Administration, Divisional Commissioners & District Collectors to be vigilant & well equipped in coastal areas, especially of Palghar, Raigad, Ratnagiri & Sindhudurg (sic),” read a tweet by the office of Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray.

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