‘Extremely Severe’ cyclone Tauktae to reach Gujarat coast today

Cyclone Tauktae – an ‘extremely severe cyclonic storm’ – is currently 160 km south-southwest of Mumbai and is “very likely” to reach the Gujarat coast this evening with gusts of up to 200 km per hour, the weather department said this morning.

Thousands have been evacuated from low-lying areas between Porbandar and Mahuva in Gujarat’s Bhavnagar district in anticipation of Tauktae hitting the coast later today. Overall more than 1.5 lakh people have been shifted so far. Officials are bracing for very heavy rainfall and a maximum sustained surface windspeed of up to 190 km per hour. Warnings are also in place in Junagarh, Gir Somnath and Amreli.

Windspeed warnings – 120-140 km per hour with gusts up to 165 km per hour – have also been issued for Bharuch and south Ahmedabad. Similar warnings – 90-100 km per hour with gusts up to 120 km per hour – have also been sounded in Devbhoomi Dwarka, Jamnagar, Rajkot, Morbi and Kheda for early Tuesday.

Officials are bracing for damage across Kutch, Jamnagar, Valsad, Surat and Vadodara, and interior parts of Ahmedabad districts. Tauktae is expected to cause major damage to thatched and mud houses and huts, as well as trees, embankments and salt pans, and coastal crops. Minor damage is expected to power and communication lines.