Cyclone Tauktae, which has intensified into a cyclonic storm over the Arabian Sea, has led to rainfall at most places over coastal Karnataka and a few places in the interior parts of the state. Tauktae, pronounced as Tau’Te, is very likely to intensify into a severe cyclonic storm in the next 6 hours and into a very severe cyclonic storm during the subsequent 12 hours, the Indian Meteorological Department said on Saturday.
Cyclonic Storm Tauktae:
In a bulletin released at 3.20 pm, the IMD said during the past 6 hours, Cyclonic Storm Taukte over east central and adjoining southeast Arabian Sea has moved north-north-westwards with a speed of about 11 kmph and lay centred at 8.30 hours IST of May 15 over the sea near latitude 12.8°N and longitude 72.5°E. The cyclone lay centred about 190 km north-northwest of AminiDivi, 330 km south-southwest of Panjim-Goa, 930km south-southeast of Veraval (Gujarat) and 1020 km south-southeast of Karachi (Pakistan).
The cyclone is likely to move north-north-westwards and cross the Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Naliya around the afternoon or evening of May 18, the IMD said. Konkan and Goa are expected to receive heavy to very heavy rainfall on May 15 and 16.
Preparations and Deployment of Troops:
As the threat of Cyclone Tauktae looms large, both the Centre and states have been gearing up to deal with the cyclone that has been building up over the Arabian Sea for days now. The National Disaster Response Force has increased from 53 to 100 the number of teams earmarked to undertake relief and rescue measures in the aftermath of the cyclone. The force’s Director General, S N Pradhan, said in a tweet that these teams are being mobilised for deployment in the coastal regions of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Goa and Maharashtra.
Out of the 100 teams, the director general said 42 are being pre-deployed or stationed on the ground in six states while 26 are on stand-by. Thirty-two teams are on backup and can be airlifted upon requirement, Pradhan said. The NDRF chief also said that members of these teams have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and are equipped with the required tools. A single NDRF team comprises 35-40 personnel and they are armed with tree and pole cutters, boats, basic medical aid and other relief and rescue equipment.
The government machinery in Goa has put in place necessary measures to tackle the situation in view of the warning about Cyclone Tauktae. The Goa Fire and Emergency Services said it has kept its personnel ready to tackle the situation. Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has directed the authorities in coastal districts of the state to remain alert and well-equipped to tackle the situation.
Sea conditions will be very rough over southeast Arabian Sea, adjoining Lakshadweep-Maldives area and equatorial Indian Ocean during next 6 hours, the IMD has said. Further sea conditions over eastcentral Arabian Sea will be high to very high on May 15 and very high to phenomenal on May 16 and over northeast Arabian Sea on May 17 and 18. The conditions will be rough to very rough over Comorin area and along and off Kerala coast on 15, very rough to high over east central Arabian Sea along and off Karnataka coast on May 15 and Maharashtra-Goa coasts on May 15 and 16. It is very likely to be very rough to high over northeast Arabian Sea along and off south Gujarat coast from May 17 morning and very high to Phenomenal from morning of May 18.
Tidal wave of about 2-3 meters above astronomical tide is likely to inundate coastal areas of Morbi, Kutch, Devbhoomi Dwarka and Jamnagar districts and 1-2 meters along Porbandar, Junagarh, Gir Somnath, Amreli, Bhavnagar and 0.5 to 1m over the remaining coastal districts of Gujarat.
Rain Forecast for next 24 hours:
According to the IMD forecast, rain or thundershowers are very likely to occur at most places over Karnataka. Thunderstorm with lightning accompanied with gusty winds speed reaching 30-40 kmph likely to occur at isolated places over the state. The Met department has also issued warning that heavy to very rainfall is likely at a few places with extremely heavy rainfall at isolated places over Coastal Karnataka, North Interior Karnataka and at a few places over South Interior Karnataka.
On Lakshadweep Islands, light to moderate rainfall is likely at most places with heavy to very heavy falls at isolated places over northern Islands on May 15 and heavy falls at isolated places on May 16. Kerala can expect light to moderate rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places and extremely heavy falls at isolated places on May 15, heavy to very heavy falls at isolated places on May 16 and heavy falls at isolated places on May 17.
The ghat districts of Tamil Nadu are likely to receive light to moderate rainfall at many places with heavy to very heavy falls at isolated places on May 15. Konkan and Goa will receive light to moderate rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places over south Konkan and Goa and heavy to very heavy falls at isolated places over north Konkan on 15 and heavy to very heavy falls at a few places over Konkan and Goa and adjoining ghat areas on May 16 and heavy falls at isolated places on May 17 over north Konkan.
In Gujarat, light to moderate rainfall is very likely to commence over coastal districts of Saurashtra from May 16 afternoon, heavy to very heavy falls at isolated places over Saurashtra and Kutch and extremely heavy falls at isolated places, in Junagarh and Gir Somnath Districts on May 17. Heavy to very heavy falls likely at a few places over Saurashtra and Kutch with extremely heavy falls (≥ 20 cm) at isolated places, including Porbandar, Devbhoomi Dwarka, Jamnagar and Kutch districts on May 18.
West Rajasthan is likely to receive light to moderate rainfall at many places with heavy to very heavy falls at isolated places very likely on May 18 and 19.
Domestic Airlines Issue Travel Advisory:
Due to the adverse weather conditions expected over Arabian Sea, flights to and from Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Pune, Goa, and Ahmedabad are likely to be impacted till 17th May, 2021, said Vistara in an statement. On the other hand, IndiGo has also issued a travel advisory. In a tweet, IndiGo mentioned that “Due to Cyclone Tauktae, flights to/from Kannur are impacted. You may visit Plan B to opt for alternate options or get a refund.”
As the Cyclone approaches, the IMD has suggested total suspension of fishing operations and judicious regulation of rail and road traffic. It has further asked the people in affected areas to remain indoors. Movement in motor boats and small ships is unsafe, the weather body has warned.
The Union Home Ministry has issued an advisory asking the Gujarat government to keep a close watch, regularly monitor the situation and take appropriate precautionary measures. It said the “very severe cyclonic storm” is likely to cause damage to thatched houses, roads, power and communication lines, especially in the districts of Saurashtra region such as Devbhoomi Dwarka, Kutch, Porbandar, Junagadh, Gir Somnath, Jamnagar, Amreli, Rajkot and Morbi.