Cyclone Vayu will not hit Gujarat and will only affect the coastal regions of the state, the India Meteorological Department said on Thursday morning. The severe cyclonic storm was earlier predicted to make landfall in Gujarat on Thursday afternoon.
“It will pass nearby from Veraval, Porbandar, Dwarka,” Manorama Mohanty, a scientist at IMD, Ahmedabad, told ANI. “Its effect will be seen on the coastal regions as there will be heavy wind speed and heavy rain as well.”
M Rajeevan, the secretary at the Ministry of Earth Sciences, said the cyclone has made a small deviation. “It may not make landfall,” he told PTI. “It will only skirt the coast. But, its effect will be there with strong winds and heavy rain.”
In its morning bulletin, the weather department said the the very severe cyclonic storm moved north northwestwards with a speed of about 11 kmph. “It is very likely to move nearly north-northwestwards for some time and then northwestwards skirting the Saurashtra coast affecting Gir Somnath, Diu, Junagarh, Porbandar and Devbhoomi Dwarka with wind speed 135-145 kmph gusting to 160 kmph,” it added.
The National Disaster Management Authority tweeted a 10.30 am IMD bulletin, which said that the storm lay almost stationary, 160 kilometres South-Southwest of Diu, 110 km Southwest of Veraval and 130 km South of Porbandar. Currently, it has a wind speed of 135 km to 145 km per hour, the bulletin said, with gusts of up to 160 km per hour.
Porbandar Cost Guard Deputy Inspector General Iqbal Singh Chauhan said the cyclone will completely cross over into the sea not before Saturday. “The next 50-60 hours will be very important for Gujarat,” he said, according to Firstpost. “To all our fishermen and coastal residents, we request you to move to safer places. If you live in kachha house, please go to the relief camps set up by the state government because the wind speeds are going to very high and the sea is expected to surge to about 1-1.5 metres. I want to inform all the citizens of India that the pre-emptive steps taken by the administration, government agencies and armed forces will ensure that there is no loss of life.”
Six people have died over the last two days, but the Gujarat government denied these were casualties attributable to the cyclone. “No casualties have been recorded due to Cyclone Vayu till now,” Gujarat Additional Chief Secretary of Revenue Pankaj Kumar told ANI. “The deaths is not due the cyclone, rather it is due to monsoon.”
Over three lakh people were evacuated from coastal Gujarat and the Union Territory of Diu on Wednesday. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has asked tourists in Dwarka, Somnath, Sasan and Kutch to leave for safer places. More than 10,000 tourists to Dwarka, Somnath, Porbandar and Diu have been sent back through state transport buses.
Naval diving teams have been kept on standby. The National Disaster Response Force, Coast Guard, Army, Navy, Air Force and the Border Security Force have been put on high alert. All schools and colleges along the coastline will remain closed.
Fisherfolk have also been advised against venturing into the sea along the Gujarat coast till June 15. Beaches in the Konkan region have been closed for the public, reported ANI.
On Thursday, the Western Railway said that 86 trains have been cancelled and 37 short-terminated due to the cyclone, PTI reported. “In addition to this, various safety and security precautions are also being taken by the Western Railway for train passengers of these prone areas under the jurisdiction of WR – Veraval, Okha, Porbandar, Bhavnagar, Bhuj and Gandhidham,” the Western Railway added.
The Airports Authority of India had on Wednesday suspended flight operations at airports in Porbandar, Diu, Bhavnagar, Keshod and Kandla for 24 hours. There has been no damage to aerodromes’ infrastructure so far, the Airports Authority of India said on Thursday.
Mumbai expected to experience less windy day
Mumbai is likely to experience a less windy day on Thursday as the cyclone has passed the Maharashtra coast, The Indian Express reported. There were also rains in the city on Wednesday. Colaba recorded 13 mm of rainfall while Santacruz recorded 7 mm.
Thunder and rainfall are likely in Thane, Palghar and Mumbai over the next three days, the weather department said.
The Gujarat Tourism Development Corporation has asked for a report on cruise ships operating in the Mandovi river in Panaji despite a cyclone warning. “I have asked the officials concerned to submit a report to me in two days on how the cruise ships were allowed to leave the jetty and venture into the water,” the corporation’s chairperson Dayanand Sopte said.