Cyclone Tauktae Updates: IMD Issues Alert For Gujarat, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa And Maharashtra, Likely To Intensify By Monday Evening

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Cyclone Tauktae is all set to make landfall in Gujarat, on the evening of the 17th of May.  

Approximately 1.5 lakh people were evacuated from low lying areas in Gujarat in the wake of the cyclonic storm. According to the India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) updates, cyclone Tauktae has now become a “very severe cyclonic storm” and is likely to intensify even further in the next 24 hours, by the evening of the 17th of May, before making a landfall in Gujarat. Due to heavy rainfall, six people lost their lives, many houses were damaged, electricity poles uprooted and water clogged at several places.

Besides Gujarat, states like Goa, Maharashtra, Kerala and Karnataka are also on alert and would witness heavy rainfall.

Strong winds with speed reaching up to 90 km per hour (kmph) were lashing the western coastal region, and as per the Cyclone Warning Division of the IMD, by the 18th of May, the wind speed is expected to increase to 150-160 kmph, gusting up to 175 kmph.

As many as 54 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) have been deployed in Gujarat to control the situation.

In Maharashtra, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has completely closed the COVID-19 vaccination drive in Mumbai and is monitoring the situation in preparation for the cyclone.

The IMD has also predicted that isolated places in north Konkan, Mumbai, Thane and Palghar will receive heavy to very heavy rainfall on the 18th of May.

In Goa, gusty winds and heavy rains have started lashing several parts of Goa, which is expected to continue till the 18th of May.

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said the major impact of the cyclonic winds was felt in Bardez taluka in North Goa district and Mormugao in South Goa. He said there was power disruption for some time at the Goa Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), where COVID-19 patients are undergoing treatment, but it did not affect the functioning

Mr. Pramod Sawant said, “Hundreds of houses suffered major damage due to the cyclonic winds. Some highways were blocked at several points after trees got uprooted. However, the roads were cleared by the disaster management teams.” The electricity department deployed its full force for the restoration work, but it was getting hampered due to the strong winds, he said.

In Karnataka, four people died due to heavy rain and approximately 70 villages in 7 districts were affected by Tauktae. Heavy rainfall and severe high tides resulted in power disruption.

The Karnataka State Disaster Management Authority officials said, the highest rainfall of 385 mm was recorded at Nada Station in Kundapura taluk of Udupi district, which was the worst affected, and 15 stations recorded more than 200 mm of rainfall in the district. Officials said nearly a dozen relief camps are functioning in the state. There has been damage to 112 houses, 139 electricity poles and other infrastructure in coastal areas.

The Chief Minister of Karnataka, B.S.Yeddyurappa has asked Ministers of coastal districts and Deputy Commissioners there to visit the affected areas and carry out rescue and relief works.

In Kerala, the water level in many dams showed a rising trend after heavy rains in the catchment areas, prompting authorities to sound an alert. The IMD also issued an orange alert, a warning indicating heavy to very heavy rain on the 16th of May.

The orange alert has been issued mainly for three districts, Ernakulam, Idukki and Malappuram.

Many houses were damaged in coastal areas across the state as seawater seeped in following high waves. According to the state government, at least nine districts have been severely affected by sea incursion. The Thrissur district administration said they would open spillway shutters of the Peringalkuthu dam if the water level crosses the permitted limit of 419.41 metres.

Indian Navy deployed its diving and quick reaction teams in the coastal village of Chellanam in Ernakulam district, which was heavily hit by tidal waves. The teams, braving harsh weather conditions, undertook rescue and rehabilitation of people who were trapped in houses.

High tidal waves have also lashed Kaipamangalam, Chavakkad and Kodungallur in Thrissur, Pallithura in Thiruvananthapuram, Thrikkannapuzha in Alappuzha and Beypore and Koyilandy in Kozhikode districts.

The IMD said Tauktae would cross Gujarat’s coast between Porbandar and Mahuva in Bhavnagar district by early Tuesday morning and tidal waves are likely to inundate several coastal districts during the landfall.

PM Narendra Modi and Amit Shah review situation:

The Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the preparedness for Cyclone Tauktae in Gujarat, Maharashtra and the Union territories of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

Mr. Modi stressed specifically on all health facilities, including those for COVID-19 treatment, falling in the affected areas should be secured along with the patients.

Amit Shah also advised them to ensure adequate stocks of all essential medicines and supplies in the hospitals, keeping in view a likely disruption in the movement of vehicles.

Meanwhile, The Indian Navy, Central Rescue Disaster Force (CRDF) and State Rescue Disaster Force (SRDF) are on alert for rescue operations.