Cyclone Tauktae causes havoc in southern coastal states, moves towards Gujarat
Governments insist people on staying indoors over the next two days.
The extremely severe cyclonic storm Tauktae very likely to make landfall in Gujarat's Bhavnagar district between 8 pm and 11 pm today, as per the India Meterological Department (IMD). Coastal areas of Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa endured heavy rainfall with strong winds on Sunday due to the very severe cyclonic storm, which has now further intensified. The storm has caused destruction in these coastal states. The storm is now moving towards Gujarat and is likely to cross its coast on the morning of May 18.
Heavy winds paired with torrential rains caused destruction in the coastal states on the cyclone's path, which are already grappling with the second wave of COVID-19. Houses and other buildings were destroyed in several coastal districts of Kerala on Saturday and Sunday (May 15 and 16), also claiming two lives in the state. Trees were uprooted in almost all these states blocking roads and disrupting the supply of electricity. Almost the entire state of Goa had power outage throughout Sunday, the state capital Panaji recorded 12.4cm of rainfall today, as per the India Meteorological Department (IMD). As per Goa's power minister Nilesh Cabral, many high tension feeders in the state were down due to the falling of trees. He even said that the 220 kv lines bringing electricity from Maharashtra to Goa were damaged. The Karnataka Government said that four people have died due to the cyclone in Udupi, Uttara Kannada, Shimoga and Chikkamgualuru.
In Maharashtra's Jalgaon, two girls died and their mother was seriously injured after a tree uprooted and collapsed on their hut due to strong winds. The IMD has issued heavy rainfall warnings to Konkan as well as Mumbai, Thane and Palghar districts as well on May 17. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has suspended all COVID vaccination activity today, in order to restrict people's movement as much as possible. Over 12,000 people from Maharashtra's coastal districts have also been evacuated in wake of the cyclone's rising intensity. The influence of the storm in Maharashtra is likely to subside after Monday.
As per the IMD, gale wind speed reaching 140–150 kmph gusting to 165 kmph is prevailing over east-central Arabian Sea. It is likely to increase from 155-165 kmph gusting to 185 kmph from the forenoon of May 17. The fishermen have been advised not to venture into east-central Arabian Sea along and off Karnataka coast till the morning of May 17, and into east-central Arabian Sea and along and off Maharashtra–Goa coasts and into the northeast Arabian Sea along and off Gujarat coast till May 18.
The cyclone is very likely to reach Gujarat coast in the evening hours of Monday, May 17 and cross the Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Mahuva (Bhavnagar district) around early morning on Tuesday, May 18. Heavy to extremely heavy rainfall is likely at isolated places across Saurashtra, Kutch, Diu and southernmost Gujarat region on Monday and Tuesday. Major damage to houses, roads in Gujarat's coastal areas has been deemed possible by the IMD. The State Government is evacuating around 1.5 lakh people in the low-lying areas. Gujarat has also suspended COVID vaccination over the next two days, urging people to stay indoors.
The story has been updated for additional details at 12:48pm.