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The depression in the Arabian Sea is likely to intensify into a “very severe cyclonic storm” on May 17 and cross the Gujarat coast a day later, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Friday. The weather condition has intensified into a deep depression. It is very likely to further intensify into cyclonic storm ‘Tauktae’ by Saturday morning. It is very likely to intensify further into a severe cyclonic storm by Saturday night.

From May 16-19, it is very likely to intensify into a “very severe cyclonic storm” with a wind speed of 150-160 kilometres per hour gusting up to 175 kmph, Cyclone Warning Division of the IMD said. It is likely to reach Gujarat coast by the morning of May 18. The IMD has alerted the state along the western coast. It said the Lakshadweep Islands will receive heavy to very heavy rainfall at isolated places on May 15 and heavy falls at isolated places on May 16. Heavy to very heavy falls are expected at a few places on May 15 and heavy to very heavy falls at isolated places on May 16-17.

The ghat districts of Tamil Nadu are expected to witness light to moderate rainfall at many places with heavy to very heavy falls and extremely heavy falls at isolated places are very likely on May 14 and 15. Karnataka (coastal and adjoining ghat districts) are likely to receive light to moderate rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy falls at a few paces with extremely heavy falls at isolated places on May 15 and heavy falls at isolated places on May 16. Konkan and Goa are expected to receive heavy to very heavy falls on May 15-16.

The coastal districts of Saurashtra in Gujarat are likely to receive rainfall from May 16 and heavy to very heavy falls are expected on May 17. Heavy to very heavy falls at a few places, extremely heavy falls at isolated places over Saurashtra and Kutch are likely on May 18, the IMD said. The name ‘Tauktae’ has been given by Myanmar which means ‘gecko’. This is going to be the first cyclonic storm of this year along the Indian coast.

In view of this prediction, all ports in Gujarat have been asked to hoist a signal to warn fishermen against venturing into the sea. “As of now, there is no prediction whether it will make a landfall on the Gujarat coast, and a clear picture would emerge only by tomorrow,” said Manorama Mohanty, assistant director of the Meteorological Centre in Ahmedabad.

Taking no chances, the Gujarat government has already alerted the collectors of all the coastal districts to take necessary steps for the safety of people. In its latest bulletin, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said that Cyclone Tauktae, once it is formed, is likely to intensify into a “very severe cyclonic storm” on May 17 with wind speed of 150 to 160 kmph.

As per the latest weather bulletin, the depression was centred over Lakshadweep about 1,120 km south southeast of Veraval (Gujarat) and was likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm during the next 24 hours. “Tauktae is likely to move north north-eastwards initially for some more time and then move north-north westwards and reach near Gujarat coast by May 18 morning,” the IMD release said.

“The cyclone would reach near Gujarat coast on May 18.The cyclonic activity would bring rain, and at some places thunderstorms, in the entire coastal belt on May 16, 17 and 18. Some places along the coast would get heavy to extremely heavy rainfall on May 17 and 18,” Mohanty told reporters here on Friday.

While the wind speed on the land would remain between 45 to 50 kmph on May 17, it may go up to 90 to 100 kpmh on May 18 when the cyclone reaches near the Gujarat coast. While local authorities were already instructed to alert the fishermen and bring them back to coast if they are in the sea, those who are on the coast are barred from venturing into the sea as a precautionary measure till the situation improves, she said.

To alert the seafarers about the approaching cyclone, all the ports in Gujarat have been asked to hoist ‘Distant Cautionary Signal Number 2’, she said. Meanwhile, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has earmarked 53 teams to tackle possible after- effects of the cyclone. These teams are being deployed in the coastal regions of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Maharashtra, a top NDRF official has earlier said.

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