Cyclone Vayu, which intensified into a “very severe cyclonic storm” and changed its course slightly, will not hit Gujarat coast, weather forecasters said on Thursday.
IMD’s previous weather report had said it could hit the Gujarat coast anywhere between Veraval in the south and Dwarka in the west on Thursday afternoon.
Here are the live updates:
3:11 pm: Heavy rainfall as Cyclone Vayu skirts Gujarat coast
12.59 pm: Ministry of Earth Science issues orange message
Ministry of Earth Science issues an orange message, meaning 'be prepared', as Cyclone Vayu moved over Northeast and adjoining East central Arabian Sea.
12.47 pm: NDRF shifts pregnant woman to hospital
11.53 am: Cyclone Vayu has the strength of a category 2 typhoon, says Skymet
Skymet says the Cyclone Vayu is sustaining strength of category 2 typhoon.
11.46am: No casualties so far, says Additional Chief Secretary
“Effect of Cyclone Vayu has been milder at most of the airports of Gujarat. No damage to any airport infrastructure or facilities has been reported so far,” Additional Chief Secretary Pankaj Kumar says.
“Situation is normal at Surat, Bhuj, Keshod, Kandla, Jamnagar, Vadodara, Ahmedabad. Diu, Porbandar and Bhavnagar Airports that are currently witnessing a wind speed b/w 30-40 kmph gusting up to 60 kmph have been asked to closely monitor the situation and take note of Meteorological data,” he says, quoted ANI.
11.37am: Update for Maharashtra
NDMA says it is very likely to be 50-60 kmph gusting to 70 kmph over north Maharashtra Coast and northern parts of east-central Arabian Sea.
The sea condition is very likely to be very rough to high along and off north Maharashtra coast and phenomenal over northern parts of east-central Arabian Sea.
11.26am: Storm surge forecast for low lying coast areas of Gujarat
Gale winds speed of the order of 135-145 kmph gusting to 160 kmph very likely to prevail over the north Arabian Sea and Gujarat coast.
11.01am: Rainfall update for Saurashtra
NDMA says Widespread rainfall with heavy to very heavy falls at few places and extremely heavy falls at isolated places very likely over coastal districts of Saurashtra. Fairly widespread rainfall with heavy falls at isolated places over Konkan and Goa.
10.32am: Cyclone Vayu update
10.13am: Govt alert for Cyclone Vayu remains the same
“Govt alertness for Cyclone Vayu continues with same intensity. Persons shifted to shelter homes to stay there. People should continue to stay in safe areas. Their preparedness to continue at same level,” Pankaj Kumar, Additional Chief Secy, Revenue Department, Gujarat Govt said, quoted ANI.
9.49am: Somnath temple open despite alert over issued over Cyclone Vayu
ANI reported pilgrims have been visiting Somnath temple despite the alert issued due to the cyclone.
Gujarat minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama told the news agency: “Temples can’t be closed. We have requested tourists not to visit, but ‘aarti’ which is being performed since many years can’t be stopped.”
9.18am: Cyclone Vayu will skirt Saurashtra coast, says IMD
9.04am: Cyclone Vayu may not make landfall, but system may still hit Porbander, says IMD
IMD Mumbai says: “The extent of cyclone is over 900 km. So while eye of cyclone may or may not hit Porbandar, the system will still hit. Accompanying risk factors such as wind and storm surge and rainfall, all 3 stay very much threat factors. Hence please don’t relax in preparedness.”
8.45am: Cyclone Vayu will not hit Gujarat coast, says IMD
“Cyclone Vayu will not hit Gujarat coast. It will pass nearby from Veraval, Porbandar, Dwarka,” IMD scientist Manorama Mohanty told ANI.
8.38 am: Beaches in Konkan region shut
IMD says the sea condition is very likely to be very rough to high along and off the Maharashtra Coast and northern parts of east central Arabian Sea till Thursday
8.32 am: Cyclone Vayu may skirt the Gujarat coast
Skymet Weather said the cyclone is recurving before reaching Gujarat coast but warned people to stay alert due to strong winds and rough seas.
8.27 am: Flights suspended at 5 Gujarat airports
The Airports Authority of India announced that flight operations will remain suspended at five airports in Gujarat for 24 hours from midnight Wednesday to minimise the damage to airport infrastructure and to avoid inconvenience to passengers due to the cyclone.
Since all the airports in Kutch and Saurashtra region have been asked to shut their operations completely, flights to these destinations from Ahmedabad Airport stand cancelled for Thursday, PTI reported.
8.15am: Railways cancels trains to Kutch and Saurashtra
In a release, the Western Railway said it has cancelled trains going towards Kutch and Saurashtra region for two days. As a precautionary measure, the Indian Railways has announced that all the trains for this region have been either short-terminated or cancelled for two days, starting 6 pm Wednesday.
8.08 am: 3 lakh people evacuated
8.02am: Special trains for relief and rescue
To help authorities in relief and rescue work, the railways has kept special trains ready for deployment in those areas after the cyclone makes landfall.
“Special trains with six to 10 coaches each will be formed, to be kept in ready condition at the nearest safe location to be moved in emergency conditions,” the Western Railway said.
Areas likely to be affected
The Gujarat government said the cyclone is likely to affect Kutch, Morbi, Jamnagar, Junagadh, Devbhoomi-Dwarka, Porbandar, Rajkot, Amreli, Bhavnagar and Gir-Somnath districts.
Holiday has been declared in schools, colleges and ‘anganwadis’ on Wednesday and Thursday in these 10 districts.
Coast Guard, Armed Forces on alert
The Coast Guard, Army, Navy, Air Force and the Border Security Force have been put on high alert, PTI reported.
While the state government has said all fishermen and their boats have already returned to the shore after getting the warning, ports have been asked to hoist storm warning signal number 8 and 9 to convey “great danger”.
Based on the India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) advice, Great Danger 8 (GD-8) signal has been hoisted at Porbandar and Okha ports, while GD-9 signal has been hoisted at Diu, Veraval, Navlakhi, New-Kandla, Sikka, Mundra, Madvi and Jakhau ports.
Briefing the media about preparations to deal with the cyclone, Additional Chief Secretary, Revenue, Pankaj Kumar said police would do night patrolling in vulnerable areas to make sure no one is left behind.
“Our aim is to ensure zero casualty. We appeal to outsiders to refrain from visiting vulnerable areas near the coast. We have deployed 33 teams, each having 90 to 100 personnel, of National Disaster Response Force and nine teams of State Disaster Response Force in these 10 districts,” he said.
In addition, 11 columns of Army, two companies of BSF, 14 companies of State Reserve Police and 300 commandos of state marine police were also deployed at different locations in Kutch and Saurashtra region, the officer added.
A defence release said the Army has allotted 24 columns on standby and is ready to carry out any rescue and relief operations. Each column has a strength of about 70 people from infantry/artillery, signal, engineers and Army medical corps.
It further informed that ships and aircraft of this region were dispersed at various places to enable search and rescue readiness post landfall of cyclone.
“The state government has decided to suspend operations at all the ports situated on Gujarat’s coast. As a precautionary measure, all the airports in Saurashtra region will remain shut till the cyclone recedes. Bus services to pilgrimage sites in that region have also been cancelled,” Rupani said after the review meet in Gandhinagar.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday advised people in his home state to follow real-time information being given by local agencies to stay safe.
“Praying for safety and well-being of all those affected by Cyclone Vayu. The government and local agencies are providing real-time information, which I urge those in affected areas to closely follow,” Modi tweeted.
After a review meeting with officials this afternoon, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani appealed to people to cooperate in the evacuation process so that there is no loss of life.
(With PTI inputs)