Cyclone Vayu unlikely to hit Gujarat

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Fishermen try to pull back a boat that was carried away by waves on the Arabian Sea coast in Veraval, Gujarat, India, Thursday, June 13, 2019.Fishermen try to pull back a boat that was carried away by waves on the Arabian Sea coast in Veraval, Gujarat, India, Thursday, June 13, 2019.   | Photo Credit: AP

System has changed course and is expected to skirt the Saurashtra coast

In a major relief for Gujarat, which was expected to be hit by cyclone Vayu on the Saurashtra coast, the system has changed course and is now unlikely to make landfall in the State.

However, the coastal districts of the State are likely to see heavy rainfall with high wind speed, and the sea will remain turbulent for the next 24 hours.

Waves crash against the jetty at a fishing harbour ahead of the expected landfall of Cyclone Vayu at Veraval in Gujarat on June 12, 2019.

Cyclone Vayu: 2.5 lakh shifted in Gujarat ahead of landfall

“Cyclone Vayu won’t hit Gujarat. It will pass near Veraval, Porbandar and Dwarka. Its effect will be seen on the coastal regions, as there will be strong wind speed and heavy rain,” said Manorama Mohanty, senior officer at the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), Ahmedabad.

In its early morning update, the IMD said very severe category l cyclonic storm Vayu forming over east central Arabian Sea had moved north to northwest-wards in the past six hours. It was 130 km south west of Veraval and 180 km south of Porbandar. It may move north-northwestwards for some time and skirt the Saurashtra coast later.

Following the update, the Gujarat government said all its preparations will remain on stand-by mode till the cyclone passed completely.

“IMD has officially informed that cyclone Vayu has changed course and now it will not make landfall in Gujarat. However, while skirting through the Gujarat coast, it may cause strong winds and rain. All forces will remain on alert mode until the situation becomes normal,” said Gujarat’s Additional Chief Secretary (Revenue) Pankaj Kumar.

The storm was expected to make landfall between Veraval and Dwarka coast on Thursday afternoon, with wind speeds of 145-155 kmph and up to 175 kmph.

In precautionary measures, the State government shifted more than 2.5 lakh people from low-lying areas and vulnerable places to safer locations and deployed 36 National Disaster Response Force teams and other agencies.

All trains in Saurashtra coast were cancelled, flight operations at all airports in the region suspended and port operations halted across the coast. The government had also ordered schools and colleges to remain shut for two days.

In its latest update, the IMD said strong wind speeds and heavy rain would continue for three days. At Veraval, gusts with speed of 70 kmph were registered. Rain has started and will increase. South Gujarat may also get rain. Although the cyclone is not likely to make landfall, there will be heavy rain and strong winds.