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Cyclone Vayu changes course, won’t make landfall in Gujarat: Met department

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Cyclone Vayu won’t hit Gujarat after changing trajectory overnight but the severity of the storm still remains a threat for the state’s coastal areas, the Met department. Gujarat continues to be in a state of high alert with 3 lakh people from low-lying areas of Saurashtra and Kutch regions being evacuated.

“It (Cyclone Vayu) may not make landfall. It will only skirt the coast. It has made a small deviation. But, its effect will be there with strong winds and heavy rain,” secretary at the Ministry of Earth Sciences M Rajeevan told news agency PTI.

The Met department’s cyclone warning division said Vayu, classified as a very severe cyclonic storm, has taken a slight westward movement. “Cyclone Vayu is very likely to move north-northwestwards for some time and then northwestwards skirting the Saurashtra coast affecting Gir Somnath, Diu, Junagarh, Porbandar and Devbhoomi Dwarka with wind speed between 135 and 145 kmph, gusting to 160 kmph from June 13 afternoon,” the Cyclone Warning Division said in its 8:30 am bulletin on Thursday.

The Airports Authority of India announced that flight operations will remain suspended at five airports in Gujarat for 24 hours from midnight Wednesday to minimise the damage to airport infrastructure and to avoid inconvenience. The railways has cancelled 77 trains and short terminated 33 others due to Cyclone Vayu, the Western Railways said on Thursday.

The Gujarat coast is home to Veraval, a major hub of India’s fisheries industry exporting to Japan, South East Asia, Europe, the Gulf and the United States. All ports in the state have stopped accommodating berths for ships starting Wednesday. Two major ports of India, Deendayal and Adani in the Gulf of Kutch, are in Gujarat.

The state government has launched a massive evacuation exercise to shift about 300,000 people from low-lying areas of Saurashtra and Kutch regions.

“We had earlier planned to shift only those living in kutchha (thatched) houses but in the wake of forecasts that the cyclone could be severe, decided to shift all the people in coastal villages,” Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, who had a review meeting with the state administration on Wednesday said. “The government’s success would be in zero death,” Rupani added.

Ten columns of the Army (each with 70 personnel) have been deployed in the 10 districts, as well as Morbi and Bhavnagar, while another 24 columns have been put on standby, a defence release said Wednesday.

The IAF has also positioned the medium lift and light utility helicopters at nodal points in the state. A highly mobile deployable radar has been placed at Gandhinagar to channelise helicopter operations and establish communication with control centres, the IAF said.

The NDRF has deployed 40 teams in 15 districts of Gujarat, and four teams in Diu. In addition, six teams will be airlifted from Patna and INS Rajali.

The Gujarat coast is home to Veraval, a major hub of India’s fisheries industry exporting to Japan, South East Asia, Europe, the Gulf and the United States. The state also houses two major ports, Deendayal and Adani in the Gulf of Kutch, as well as the Jamnagar oil refinery, the world’s largest. All ports in Gujarat halted the berthing of vessels from Wednesday.

Source: Hindustan Times

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