Mumbai: A severe cyclonic storm hit India’s west coast, home to major refineries and ports, causing heavy rainfall and gusty winds at a time when the country is already reeling under the novel coronavirus. Cyclone Tauktae, the equivalent of a category 3 hurricane, thrashed Gujarat state late on Monday, with wind speed surging as high as 190 kph (118 miles), according to the India Meteorological Department.
Tauktae which hit the Gujarat coast on Monday evening has weakened into a ‘Very Severe’ category even as it rages through southern Gujarat on Tuesday. Though the ‘eye’ of the storm is slowly disintegrating, the storm has not knowingly weakened yet.
Tauktae is likely to weaken to a severe cyclonic storm in the next few hours. Heavy to very heavy rain with extremely heavy rain is likely over Saurashtra and parts of coastal Gujarat on Tuesday. This Cyclone Tautake wreaked havoc in India in the last two days.
NAVY RESCUES 146 FROM BARGE NEAR BOMBAY HIGH
The Indian Navy (IN) has managed to rescue at least 146 of the 273 personnel of the Oil & Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC) from the drifting Barge P-305 near the Bombay High Fields, and augmented its efforts by dispatching a helicopter, officials said here on Tuesday.
The first lot of 60 personnel was rescued around 11 pm on Monday jointly by INS Kochi and OSV Energy Star in extremely challenging conditions in the Arabian Sea, around 175 km off Mumbai, which fell directly in the path of the Cyclone Tauktae which made landfall in Gujarat late Monday night.
During the harrowing night with Cyclone Tauktae passing overhead, INS Kolkata, Great Ship Ahalya, OSV Ocean Energy, joined the rescue mission to save a total of 146 people till dawn on Tuesday, said an official. The Indian Navy also launched a helicopter mission on Tuesday morning from INS Shikra for the massive rescue efforts in the Bombay High Fields, which is spread across over 100 sq km in the Arabian Sea. As the raging Cyclone whirled towards the south Gujarat coast, carrying heavy rains and wind speeds of over 200 km/hr, the Barge P-305 with 273 onboard sent an SOS on Monday from the Heera Oilfields where it was drifting in the choppy waters. In another SOS, a drifting Barge Gal Constructor with 137 people around 15 km off Mumbai, has now run aground around 89 km north from Colaba Point.
The Indian Coast Guard has sent a ship, ICGS Samrat, an emergency towing vessel 'Water Lily', and two support vessels, to help evacuate the people on board as the weather remains extremely stormy.
MAHARASHTRA BEARS THE BRUNT
The cyclone hit Maharashtra on Monday leading to big destruction. The worst-hit district in the state was Raigad were, four people lost their lives while 8,383 were evacuated. The district administration stated at least 5,244 houses were partially damaged and several destroyed. Ratnagiri registered the death of two from electrocution while more than 1,000 structures were partially damaged in the district. Several areas in Mumbai reported waterlogging, with over 400 trees uprooted. Road, rail and air traffic were disrupted, with power cuts lasting hours reported from many areas. Sindhudurg, another district in the Konkan belt also bore the brunt of the cyclone.
CYCLONE HITS KARNATAKA TOO
The Karnataka State Disaster Management Authority put the number of villages affected at 121, across, Uttara Kannada, Kodagu, Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Chikkamagaluru, Hassan and Belagavi to name a few. It stated that 387 houses along with hectares of crops were damaged. The fatalities in Karnataka were reported from drowning, amid tug being adrift, house collapses, electrocution or other electrical incidents.
NO POWER IN GOA
A day after Cyclone Tauktae wreaked havoc in the state, claiming two lives, large parts of Goa on Monday continued to be without electricity and water supply, after heavy winds and rain uprooted hundreds of trees and damaged electrical infrastructure including electricity poles and transformers.
The Chief Minister also held a virtual conference with top officials and instructed officials to "work on warfooting" to assess the damage caused by the calamity. The Chief Minister also said that as many as 700 electric poles and around 200 transformers were damaged due to the impact of the cyclone.
(With agency inputs)