Cyclone Tauktae, which has intensified into a severe cyclonic storm over the East-central Arabian Sea, moved North-Northwestwards with a speed of about 20 kmph during the past six hours and further intensified into an "extremely severe cyclonic storm on Monday, informed the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
"The extrememly severe cyclonic storm lay centered at the Eastcentral Arabian Sea near latitude 18.5 degrees North and longitude 71.5 degrees East about 160 kms West-Southwest of Mumbai, 350 kms South-Southeast of Veraval, 310 kms South-Southeast of Diu and 840 kms South-Southeast of Karachi," said the IMD in its tropical cyclone advisory bulletin today.
It further stated that the cyclone is very likely to move North-Northwestwards and reach Gujarat Coast between 12 pm to 3 pm today and cross the Gujarat Cast between Porbandar and Mahuva (Bhavnagar distrct) between 3 pm to 6 pm today.
Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force had deployed 5xC-130 and 3xAn-32 aircraft for the transportation of NDRF personnel and Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR) equipment from Pune, Kolkata and Vijaywada to Ahmedabad yesterday, informed the IAF adding that the airlifting process from Kolkata to Ahmedabad is underway.
In a tweet today, the IAF stated, "Cyclone #Tauktae IAF deployed 5xC-130 and 3xAn-32 aircraft for transportation of NDRF personnel and #HADR eqpt from Pune, Kolkata and Vijaywada to Ahmedabad yesterday. Airlift from Kolkata to Ahmedabad is under progress."
Thousands of people were evacuated from low-lying areas along its western coast as a powerful Cyclone Tauktae is expected to make landfall in Gujarat.
IMD DG Mrutyunjay Mohapatra informed that cyclone Tauktae is very likely to cross the Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Mahuva in Bhavnagar district around the early morning of May 18.
He further said that heavy to very heavy rainfall is expected to occur in coastal areas of Gujarat on May 18. Meanwhile, some places may experience extremely heavy rainfall.
People living near coastal areas of Malia in Junagadh were evacuated by Sunday evening.
While inspecting arrangements, area Collector Sourabh Pardhi had said, "Over 1200 people have been evacuated. All precautionary measures are being taken with respect to food and shelter. All arrangements are in place."Speaking to ANI, he further informed that over 100 teams of NDRF have been deployed in five to six states, but half are being used in Gujarat because of the prediction of a higher impact in the state. Some people have died in Tamil Nadu due to wall collapse and electrocution. Some people have died in Karnataka."
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday chaired a review meeting with the Chief Ministers of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Administrator of Daman and Diu and Dadra Nagar Haveli to assess the preparedness of States and Central ministries to deal with the situation arising out of Cyclone Tauktae. (ANI)