Three people have died in Gujarat as a result of the extremely strong cyclone Tauktae, according to Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani. In the state, 40,000 trees have fallen and 16,500 huts have been damaged, he said. The cyclone has now weakened from very severe to extremely severe. In around two hours, it will become even weaker.
Three people were killed in Gujarat when Cyclone Tauktae made landfall at 8.30 p.m. with winds of 190 km/h, causing damage to homes and trees as well as forcing people to flee. Six people were killed in Maharashtra on Monday as a storm swept through the city.
The stricken barge was carrying workers for offshore drilling for India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC). The barge’s anchors gave way when the storm hit, and it started to drift.
On Monday night, the cyclone made landfall in Gujarat, and the weakening process is expected to last three hours. Gujarat is still experiencing strong winds and rain this morning. In the Arabian Sea near Mumbai, high tidal waves were seen.
THE VSCS ‘TAUKTAE’ LAY CENTRED AT 0430 HRS IST OF 18TH MAY 2021 OVER SAURASHTRA, NEAR LAT. 21.40°N AND LONG. 71.20°E, ABOUT 85 KM NORTH-NORTHEAST OF DIU AND 20 KM SOUTH OF AMRELI.— India Meteorological Department (@Indiametdept) May 17, 2021
THE CYCLONE CONTINUES TO SHOW WEAKENING TREND. EYE IS DISORGANISING, WALL CLOUD IS WEAKENING. pic.twitter.com/GaT7a7xk5X
Tauktae, which had been downgraded from a ‘extremely severe’ cyclonic storm to a’very severe’ storm, was over Saurashtra in Gujarat at 11.30 a.m. Tuesday, about 180 kilometers southwest of Ahmedabad. It’s heading north-northeast, with winds of 110-155 km/h at its heart, and it’s expected to weaken over the next three hours.
Manorama Mohanty, director of the MET Ahmedabad, says Tauktae is currently a strong cyclonic storm. “It will convert into a cyclonic storm in one hour. It will go 50-60 km west of Ahmedabad. Wind speed will be 45-55 km/hr gusting to 65 km/hr. Isolated heavy rain likely in Ahmedabad and some other districts. Heavy to very heavy rain likely to take place in Amreli, Bhavnagar, Rajkot, and Surendranagar. The cyclonic system is weakening and it will weaken further. Its impact will be in place only today.”
The storm crashed into Gujarat with gale force winds, sending waves crashing into the shore, according to news agency ANI. Three people were killed. Approximately 16,500 homes were burned, and 40,000 trees were uprooted. Over two lakh people had already been evacuated, but tens of thousands more were forced to leave coastal villages to avoid Tauktae’s wrath.
“The worst is over…” NDRF chief SN Pradhan was quoted by ANI, adding that 44 disaster response teams were working with local authorities in 20 districts to provide aid. “… very important to clear vital arteries of communication… have sent troops who have been fully vaccinated (against COVID-19),” he said.
As Tauktae blew past Mumbai, the Indian Navy rescued 177 people from adrift barges in the Arabian Sea. After distress calls from two barges carrying 410 people were received, three warships – INS Kolkata, INS Kochi, and INS Talwar – were dispatched. The search for survivors is still underway.
Amit Shah, the Union Home Minister, met with the chief ministers of the affected states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan, as well as the administrators of the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, to assess the situation and give assistance from the center.