A severe cyclonic storm dubbed Cyclone Tauktae (pronounced as Tau’Te) is expected to hit the state of Gujarat. Scientists at Indian Meteorological Department have forecasted that the cyclone will hit the coasts of Gujarat, the Union Territory of Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli with a wind speed of 120-150 kmph, and is expected to create stormy weather and rains in parts of Maharashtra also. Tauktae that had developed as a depression in the Arabian Sea is very rapidly intensifying as a cyclone and is heading towards the state of Gujarat in particular. But still, all the other states that fall on the western coastline of India, are preparing themselves in order to deal with any eventuality that may arise due to the cyclone.
What has IMD said about the cyclone?
The cyclonic storm is likely to intensify further into a “very severe cyclonic storm” by late Saturday night, according to IMD experts. Also, the cyclone is very likely to move north-northwestwards and cross the Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Naliya around May 18, where it is expected to bring very heavy rainfall. However, cities like Mumbai would not be affected much, the IMD added.
“The cyclone track is very similar to the 1998 Gujarat cyclone except that storm had crossed Kandla. We noticed rapid intensification of Tauktae because of various favourable atmospheric and oceanic parameters,” said Sunitha Devi, in charge, cyclones at IMD, according to a report in Hindustan Times.
Also, strong winds and heavy rainfall is expected at isolated places on May 17 over north Konkan, including Mumbai, according to the meteorological department’s predictions.
What are the precautions being taken by the government?
- The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic will provide a hindrance in evacuating people from the cyclone-hit areas. To ensure the safety of people living along the projected path of the cyclone, IMD has said that there should be total suspension of fishing operations in Gujarat and most states along the west coast, and a judicious regulation of rail and road traffic. Moreover, it has also advised people to remain indoors and has warned that movement in motorboats and small ships could be unsafe during this time.
- Apart from this, The Airports Authority of India (AAI) on Saturday released a statement and announced suspension of flight services at Agatti Airport in Lakshadweep till 10 am on May 16 due to heavy rains. It has also directed all airports concerned to take all precautions and plan preparedness in view of the cyclone ‘Tauktae’ approaching the western coast of the country. The airport will be made operational as and when the cyclone passes the area, AAI added in the statement.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting on the Tauktae cyclone on Saturday, where he reviewed the preparedness of central ministries, state administration and responsible agencies dealing with the cyclone. He has asked the authorities to ensure the maintenance of all essential services such as power, health and drinking, and telecommunications. And an immediate restoration of the services in case there is an effect of the cyclone on them.
- Gujarat is the state that is expected to be the worst hit by the cyclone. The Central advisory for the state has already predicted damage to thatched houses, roads, power and communication lines in the districts of the Saurashtra region. The CM of Gujarat has assured that the state has geared up adequately to ensure there is no casualty and a control room has already been set up to monitor the situation completely. Rupani further asserted that his government is fully prepared to deal with the natural disaster and that it will try its best to prevent any casualty caused due to the cyclone, for which teams of NDRF were being actively deployed in the state.
- The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has deployed four teams in Mumbai and Goa to deal with Cyclone Tauktae and has put 14 such teams on standby to deal with any emergency situation.
- Tamil Nadu government chief minister M K Stalin on Saturday directed officials to monitor the level of water in dams and also ensure people’s safety.
Cyclone Tauktae – an ‘extremely severe cyclonic storm’ – is around 160 km south-southwest of Mumbai, where the airport has been shut between 11 am and 2 pm, and is “very likely” to reach the Gujarat coast between 8 pm and 11 pm tonight.
Around 25,000 people have been evacuated from low-lying areas between Porbandar and Mahuva in Gujarat’s Bhavnagar district in anticipation of landfall
Several districts in western and southern Tamil Nadu received moderate to heavy rainfall triggered by Cyclone Tauktae on Sunday resulting in heavy inflow to major dams. Coimbatore and Tirupur experienced continuous showers ranging from mild to severe for the whole day. In the south, Theni received heavy showers while Kanyakumari had a wet day. Nilgiris was pounded by heavy rain throughout the night on Saturday with the showers continuing on Sunday too.