Cyclone Vayu on Thursday began moving away from the Gujarat coast towards Oman, but the Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said the state will remain on high alert in view of strong winds and rain along the coast, PTI reported.
“According to the IMD [India Meteorological Department] bulletin, Cyclone Vayu, which was going to hit Gujarat, has moved towards Oman,” Rupani said, according to ANI. “But the administration will continue to be on high alert for the next 24 hours.”
Rupani said the cyclone “no longer poses any danger” but the administration in the coastal region will remain on alert. He also said schools in coastal districts of Saurashtra and Kutch will remain closed on Friday. Authorities in Gujarat have already evacuated three lakh people from low-lying areas near the coast.
Gujarat Chief Secretary JN Singh said though the cyclone has started moving away from the mainland, the danger of heavy rains or strong winds is still present. “We are not declaring as of now that there is no danger,” PTI quoted him as saying. “All our measures will remain in place till tomorrow [Friday] morning. We are not taking any chances.”
“It [Cyclone Vayu] is very likely to move north-northwestwards for some time and then northwestwards skirting the Saurashtra coast affecting Gir Somnath, Diu, Junagarh, Porbandar and Devbhoomi Dwarka with wind speed 90-100 kmph gusting to 110 kmph during next 12 hours,” the weather department said in a bulletin issued at 7.30 pm.
The Airports Authority of India reviewed the status of airports in view of the cyclone. Kandla and Keshod airports in the state will resume flight operations at 12 midnight, while operations at Bhavnagar airport will resume at 6 am on Friday. Flight operations will begin at Diu and Porbandar airports from 10 am on Friday, ANI reported.
“After assessing the situation and the prevalent weather patterns as per the locally available meteorological reports, it has been decided that Kandla and Keshod Airports will resume normal flight operations from 12 midnight Thursday,” the AAI said in a release, PTI reported.
Gujarat’s Additional Chief Secretary Pankaj Kumar said all ports in the state have been asked to hoist the storm warning signal number 9. “Many areas near the coast are now receiving rain,” PTI quoted Kumar as saying. “The cyclone may bring very heavy to extremely heavy rain in some areas.”
In Porbandar, a 150-year-old Bhuteshwar Mahadev temple collapsed as waves and heavy rains lashed the coastal area.
The state government has deployed 33 teams of the National Disaster Response Force, nine teams of the State Disaster Response Force across 10 coastal districts. Eleven columns of the Army, two companies of the Border Security Force, 14 companies of the State Reserve Police and 300 commandos have been deployed in the Kutch and Saurashtra areas.