The India Meteorological Department on Tuesday said a deep depression over the south-east Arabian Sea near Lakshadweep has intensified into a cyclonic storm and is expected to intensify in the next 24 hours.
The cyclonic storm, named Vayu, is likely to head northwards towards Gujarat as a severe cyclonic storm with a wind speed over 110 km per hour. It is likely to hit Gujarat on Thursday morning, the weather department said.
The Met department has sounded a warning for heavy rains and gales on June 13 and 14 in the coastal areas of Saurashtra and Kutch. “Gale wind speed of the order of 110 to 120 km per hour gusting to 135 km per hour very likely over North Arabian Sea and Gujarat coast in morning hours and decrease gradually thereafter,” the weather department said in its forecast for June 13. “It is very likely to be 50 to 60 km per hour gusting to 70 km pe hour over north Maharashtra Coasts and northern parts of eastcentral Arabian Sea.”
The weather department has advised fisherfolks not to venture into the sea. It also advised those out in the deep sea to return to the coast. Ports have been also asked to flag a danger signal.
“Storm surge of height of about 1 metre to 1.5 metres above the astronomical tides likely to inundate the low-lying coastal areas of Kutch, Devbhoomi Dwarka, Porbandar, Junagarh, Diu, Gir Somnath, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts at the time of landfall,” the weather department said in its bulletin.
Private weather forecaster Skymet said: “With long sea travel, low vertical wind shear, and warm sea surface temperatures, the probable cyclone is further expected to gain strength and intensify into a Severe Cyclone Storm.” It also said most places in Gujarat like Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Gandhinagar, Bhuj, Surat, and Veraval would see light showers on June 12 and 13.
Gujarat has been put on alert following the weather department prediction. The state government has decided to deploy National Disaster Response Force personnel in coastal areas of Saurashtra and Kutch from Tuesday morning, PTI reported. It added that the government will also put the Army, the Navy and Coast Guard on alert.
“We have alerted all district collectors of coastal Gujarat to take immediate steps keeping in mind the likelihood of a cyclone,” said Additional Chief Secretary, Revenue, Pankaj Kumar.
Gujarat is at present reeling under severe heat wave. The maximum temperatures in major cities, including Ahmedabad, touched 43 degrees Celsius since the last week of May.
The advancement of the storm is likely to stall monsoon further in northern parts of India.