Cyclonic storm Tauktae, which was categorised as “extremely severe”, moved north-northwestwards and was centred on Monday morning over the Arabian Sea near the coasts of Mumbai and Gujarat, the India Meteorological Department said.
The weather department said that the cyclonic storm was very likely to reach the Gujarat coast on Monday evening and cross “between Porbandar and Mahuva (Bhavnagar district)” later on the same night around 8.30 pm.
The weather department predicted that the cyclonic storm was going to lose momentum and downgrade first into a “very severe cyclonic storm” on Monday night and then into a “severe cyclonic storm” early on Tuesday. The storm was expected to turn into a depression by Wednesday morning.
For the Konkan and adjoining central Maharashtra areas, Gujarat and Rajasthan, the weather monitoring agency predicted “light to moderate rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy falls and extremely heavy falls at isolated places” between Monday and Tuesday.
“Sea conditions will be phenomenal over east-central and adjoining northeast Arabian Sea till 18th morning and improve gradually thereafter,” the Monday morning bulletin read. “It is very likely to be high along and off south Gujarat, Daman, Diu, Dadra & Nagar Haveli coasts during next 6 hours becoming Phenomenal till 18th morning. It will improve gradually thereafter.”
Tidal waves may flood some parts along the Gujarat coastline, the weather department said. A complete suspension of fishing activities was advised along the coasts of Gujarat, Daman, Diu, Dadra & Nagar Haveli coasts till Tuesday afternoon.
Nearly 25,000 residents were evacuated from the low-lying areas between Porbandar and Mahuva in Gujarat’s Bhavnagar district ahead of the cyclone’s landfall, reported PTI, citing the state Additional Chief Secretary Pankaj Kumar. Close to 1.5 lakh residents in Gujarat were evacuated in anticipation of the cyclone’s landfall.
As many as 54 teams of the National Disaster Response Force and the State Disaster Response Fund remained deployed in Gujarat.
The cyclone is expected to cause damage in Diu, Amreli Junagarh, Gir Somnath Botad & Bhavnagar and coastal areas of Ahmedabad, according to the India Meteorological Department. The agency also said damage may expected over “Devbhoomi Dwarka, Porbandar, Kutch, Jamnagar, Rajkot and Morbi, Valsad, Surat, Vadodara, Bharuch, Navsari, Anand, Kheda and interior parts of Ahmedabad districts of Gujarat, Daman, Dadra & Nagar Haveli”.
The condition of the sea along the Maharashtra coast was also going to be “high to very high” during the next 12 hours from Monday morning, the weather department said, adding that it will improve after that. An orange alert, which indicates that authorities should be prepared to take action, was issued for Mumbai.
Strong winds and rains lashed parts of Mumbai and its neighbouring areas from Sunday night and on Monday morning, reported News18.
The city may receive very heavy rains at isolated places with strong winds on Monday as Cylcone Tauktae was expected to pass near the Mumbai coastline.
Meanwhile, the Mumbai international airport announced that it was shutting operations as a precautionary measure between 11 am and 2 pm on Monday.
Due to the high speed winds, the Bandra-Worli sea-link was also shut for traffic and commuters were asked to take alternate routes, a senior Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation official told News18.
Five temporary shelters were set up in 24 civic wards of Mumbai for evacuation of residents if required, reported PTI. Three teams of the National Disaster Response Force, deployed in the western suburbs of the city, were asked to remain alert. The Indian Navy personnel were also kept on standby, officials said.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, heavy rains had battered Kerala and parts of Maharashtra, while trees were uprooted and power lines were snapped in Goa. Videos and photos on social media show parts of these states affected by the rain and storm.
Due to the cyclonic storm, Mumbai and Gujarat paused Covid-19 vaccinations till Tuesday.