Cyclonic storm “Vayu” intensified into a “very severe cyclonic storm” today (Wednesday, June 12) morning, forcing authorities to put Gujarat on high alert.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) upgraded the cyclone’s severity condition as it continued to progress towards Saurashtra and Kutch regions of neighbouring Gujarat.
The cyclone has intensified into a “very severe cyclonic storm” and was around 340 km south of Gujarat’s Veraval coast in the afternoon today. It would hit the coast near Veraval as a very severe cyclonic storm “with a wind speed of 145 to 155 kmph gusting to 170 kmph around morning of June 13,” an IMD release said.
The cyclone is set to make a landfall near Veraval in Gir Somnath district tomorrow (Thursday, June 13) but it will be preceded by heavy rainfall in isolated places, according to the IMD.
The State authorities have swung into action, ordering closure of schools for three days in coastal districts and deploying teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and asking fishermen to return to the coast from high seas.
All possible arrangements have been done with the mission of “zero tolerance and zero casualty”. The Indian Army has deployed 10 columns in the coastal areas of Gujarat on Wednesday night. The Indian Air Force (IAF) has also deployed helicopters at nodal points in the state for relief and rescue operations and stationed a “highly mobile radar” at state capital Gandhinagar.
The state government launched a massive evacuation exercise to shift about three lakh people from low-lying areas of Saurashtra and Kutch regions, officials said Wednesday.
Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani asked “all tourists visiting coastal places of Somnath, Dwarka & Kutch to leave for a safer place or return to their respective states by afternoon today, ie June 12, in the wake of #CycloneVayu which is likely to hit Gujarat coast early tomorrow.”
Skymet tweeted that “out of the 3 lakh people to be evacuated from the coastal areas of #Gujarat 1.25 lakh have been moved to safer areas and the rest will be sent to safe locations by 4 pm.”
The Somnath beach has been shut for visitors for three days in the wake of an upcoming severe cyclonic storm.
ANI said in a tweet:“Western Railway:All passenger & Mail/Express trains to Veraval,Okha, Porbandar,Bhavnagar,Bhuj&Gandhidham stns are being short terminated/cancelled after 1800 hrs today to morning of Jun14. One spl train from each station to evacuate all persons from respective areas.”
In wake of the approaching cyclone “Vayu”, over 1600 workers have already been shifted from Alang shipbreaking yard and Chara port, as all shipping activities including the RO-Pax ferry service, have been suspended all across the Gulf of Khambhat in Gujarat, official sources said. The arrival of vessels at Gujarat ports have already been suspended till June 14.
With Cyclone Vayu being 280km away from Mumbai, the city has been experiencing strong winds since early morning on June 12.
Mumbaikars have been advised to stay away from coastal areas.
Fishermen have already been advised not to venture into the sea.
“In view of #CycloneVayu heading towards Gujarat coast, Mumbai is likely to experience very windy conditions from afternoon,” the Mumbai police commissioner’s Twitter handle tweeted.