Cyclone Vayu likely to cross Gujarat coast on Thursday afternoon

The very severe cyclonic storm Vayu over the Arabian Sea is expected to cross the Gujarat coast between Dwarka and Veraval with wind speed 155-165 kmph, gusting to 180 kmph, around tomorrow afternoon, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said this evening.
"After crossing, the system is likely to move along and parallel to Saurashtra and Kutch coast, affecting Amreli, Gir Somnath, Diu, Junagarh, Porbandar, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Devbhoomi Dwarka and Kutch," an IMD press release said.
Authorities in Gujarat had already evacuated about 1.2 lakh people from low-lying areas to safer places and were due to complete the evacuation of 3 lakh people in all by this evening. Similarly, the administration in the Union Territory of Diu was due to complete the evacuation of more than 10,000 people by evening, official sources said.
The IMD release said the cyclone over eastcentral Arabian Sea had moved nearly northwards and had intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm by midnight last night.
"Continuing to move nearly north-northwestwards, it lay centred at 1430 hrs IST of 12th June, 2019 near latitude 18.8°N and longitude 69.9°E over eastcentral Arabian Sea, about 310 km nearly west of Mumbai (Maharashtra), 230 km south-southwest of Veraval (Gujarat) and 310 km nearly south of Porbandar (Gujarat).
"It is very likely to move nearly northwards and cross Gujarat coast between Dwarka and Veraval as a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm with wind speed 155-165 kmph gusting to 180 kmph around afternoon of 13th June 2019," the release said.
The IMD said widespread rainfall would occur tomorrow over Saurashtra and Kutch regions of Gujarat, with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places and extremely heavy falls at isolated places. There would be fairly widespread rainfall with heavy to very heavy falls at isolated places in the two regions on Friday, it said.
The department also said there would he fairly widespread rainfall with heavy falls at isolated places tomorrow over Konkan and Goa and South Gujarat regions.
According to the release, gale wind speed of the order of 155-165 kmph, gusting to 180 kmph, was very likely over north Arabian Sea and Gujarat coast till afternoon tomorrow before decreasing gradually thereafter. 
It is very likely to be 50-60 kmph gusting to 70 kmph over north Maharashtra coast and northern parts of eastcentral Arabian Sea.
The sea condition is phenomenal over eastcentral and adjoining northeast Arabian Sea and Gujarat coast today and will be so tomorrow.
The sea condition is very likely to very rough to high along and off Maharashtra coast today adn tomorrow, it said.
Fishermen were advised not to venture into the sea in the affected areas during this period.
The release said storm surge of height of about 1.5-2.0 m above the astronomical tides was likely to inundate the low-lying coastal areas of Kutch, Devbhoomi Dwarka, Porbandar, Junagarh, Diu, Gir Somnath, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts at the time of landfall of the cyclone.
It said there could be total destruction of thatched houses, extensive damage to "kutcha" houses and some damage to "pucca" houses in  the above districts. There could be major damage to roads and flooding of escape routes. There could also be minor disruption of railways, overhead power lines and signalling systems as well as widespread damage to standing crops, plantation, orchards, falling of green coconuts and tearing of palm fronds.
Apart from total suspension of fishing operations and regulation of road and rail traffic, the bulletin called for evacuation of people from low-lying areas in the above districts, coastal hutment dwellers, urban slum dwellers and people staying in unsafe houses to safer places.
People in the affected areas have been advised to remain indoors.
In Delhi, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba chaired a high-level meeting here today to review the preparedness of the State and Central Ministries and agencies concerned to deal with the situation arising out of the cyclone.
The Department of Telecom (DoT) has issued orders to telecom service providers to allow inter-circle roaming without any extra charge.
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has pre-positioned 52 teams equipped with boats, tree-cutters, telecom equipment and so on in the areas likely to be hit by the cyclone.
Indian Coast Guard, the Navy, Army and Air Force units have also been put on standby and surveillance aircraft and helicopters are carrying out aerial surveillance.
Reviewing the preparedness of the State and Central Agencies, Union Home Secretary directed the concerned officials to take all precautionary measures with a view to ensuring that no human life is lost and minimize damage to infrastructure.
He also reviewed arrangements for making available essential food, drinking water and medicines in relief camps and to ensure the maintenance of all essential services such as power, telecommunications and health, besides steps to restore them immediately in the event of any damage.
Indian Navy ships operating at sea and aircraft/helicopters on routine sorties have been directed to inform fishing vessels operating at sea and advise them to return to harbour. Indian Navy Diving and Rescue Teams and Relief Material have been kept on standby for rendering assistance to civil authorities, as required, an official press release said.
Medical teams and facilities at Indian Naval Hospital Asvini at Mumbai are on standby to handle medical emergencies. P-8I and IL aircraft are on standby to undertake search and rescue (SAR) missions as required.

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