Satellite imagery showing cloud band on the West Coast due to Cyclone Vayu. Image source: Skymet
The Gujarat government has launched a massive evacuation exercise as cyclone 'Vayu' continued to advance towards its coast.
The state government is in constant touch with Odisha in view of the eastern state's successful handing of similar calamities like cyclone 'Fani' in May this year and cyclone 'Titli' last year, officials said.
According to the latest weather information, the cyclone has intensified into a "very severe cyclonic storm" and is located around 340 km south of Gujarat's Veraval coast.
Mumbai and some neighbouring coastal areas of Maharashtra witnessed a windy Wednesday morning as cyclone 'Vayu' turned into a "very severe cyclonic storm", the weather department said.
"Cyclone Vayu has turned into a very severe cyclonic storm. It would cause gusty winds to blow at a speed of 145 kmph to 170 kmph by Thursday morning," the IMD said.
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The Indian Meteorological Department has said that thunderstorm and lightning accompanied with gusty wind (40-50kmph) is very likely at isolated places in the districts of North Gujarat region including Banaskantha and Sabarkantha today and tomorrow (Thursday).
Top 10 developments on Cyclone Vayu
1. Cyclone Vayu: Thunderstorm, lightning alert issued for various districts of Gujarat
The alert comes in wake of Cyclone Vayu
, which is likely to make landfall over the Saurashtra coast of Gujarat as a severe cyclonic storm early Thursday morning with winds gusting up to 135 kmph and storm surges of up to 1.5 metres. Tropical Cyclone Vayu, which formed Monday, strengthened on Tuesday into a hurricane-strength tropical cyclone (meaning winds in excess of 120 kph, or 75 mph) in the Arabian Sea. Gujarat government has declared a two-day holiday for all the schools and colleges located in several parts of Gujarat.
The Indian Meteorological Department has said that thunderstorm and lightning accompanied with gusty wind (40-50kmph) is very likely at isolated places in the districts of North Gujarat region including Banaskantha and Sabarkantha today and tomorrow.
Heavy to very heavy rains very likely at isolated places in Saurashtra ta Amreli, Bhavnagar, Gir Somnath, Junagadh and Diu. Heavy rains are very likely at isolated places in districts of South Gujarat region, in Navsari, Valsad, Daman, Dadra Nagar Haveli on 12 June, according to IMD.
2. Odisha offers help to Gujarat
Odisha government Wednesday offered all help to Gujarat as cyclone 'Vayu' inched closer to its coast.
Gujarat Chief Secretary J N Singh called up his Odisha counterpart A P Padhi and sought Odisha's advice on how to tackle the cyclonic storm on a war-footing, officials said Wednesday.
"Gujarat chief secretary had called me up and discussed the measures to be taken ahead of the landfall. We have offered all kind of help to Gujarat. However, the Gujarat chief secretary has said that they will seek further help if required keeping in view the situation," Padhi told reporters.
3. Railways cancels trains to coastal Gujarat areas
The Western Railway has decided to short-terminate or cancel some of its trains passing through areas of Gujarat that are likely to be affected by cyclone 'Vayu'.
All WR passenger and mail trains to Veraval, Okha, Porbandar, Bhavnagar, Bhuj and Gandhidham stations in Gujarat will be short-terminated or cancelled from 6 pm on Wednesday till Friday morning, the WR said in a bulletin.
4. Berthing of ships halted at Sikka port as Cyclone Vayu approaches
Sikka Ports and Terminals Ltd, which handles crude oil and refined products for Reliance Industries Ltd, closed berthing of vessels at its western Indian port on Wednesday due to a cyclone warning, according to a port notice and a shipping industry source.
Sikka ports also handle oil and refined products cargo for Bharat Oman Refineries Ltd, a subsidiary of Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd.
5. Rahul urges party workers to help
Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday prayed for the safety of people in Gujarat ahead of cyclone Vayu and appealed the Congress workers to be ready to help.
"Cyclone Vayu is about to reach Gujarat coast. I appeal to all Gujarat Congress workers to be ready to help in all the areas that come in the way. I pray for the safety and well-being of all the people in the areas affected by the cyclone," he tweeted.
Gujarat Chief Secretary J N Singh said that around 280,000 people from the vulnerable areas along the coast would be evacuated from Wednesday.
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has appealed the tourists visiting the state to leave for a safer place after the afternoon of June 12, in the view of Cyclone Vayu.
"I request the tourists visiting Gujarat and going to Dwarka, Somnath, Sasan, Kutch, to leave for safer places after the afternoon of June 12 that you don't get harmed due to the cyclone. If it is possible, you can go back, it is a request," he said.
He said that state transport services will be asked to help the tourists to move to safer places.
8. Chinese boats seek shelter as cyclone 'Vayu' strengthens
Some Chinese boats have sought shelter from authorities near Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra, a Coast Guard official said. "Some 6-7 boats have initiated the communication and sought shelter following a routine procedure. The first communication as per my information took place today evening," the official said.
Marine Police and the Customs have been apprised about the movement of the Chinese boats, he said. Read on...
9. Cyclone Vayu: Two-day holiday declared in schools, colleges in several parts of Gujarat
Anticipating the impact of Cyclone Vayu, the state government have declared a two-day holiday for all the schools and colleges located in several parts of Gujarat.
10. NDRF on high alert, mobilises 36 teams for pre-positioning in Gujarat, Daman and Diu
39 teams of the National
Disaster Response Force or NDRF, along with 34 teams of the Indian Army, the Coast Guard, Border Security Force or BSF and other agencies have all been roped in, reported news agency PTI. NDRF teams will have 45 rescuers in each team and all agencies will be equipped with boats, tree-cutters and telecom equipment.