The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) on Thursday, May 13, issued a warning that depression formed over Lakshadweep in the Arabian Sea would turn into a cyclonic storm by May 16. IMD had predicted that a low-pressure area is expected to form over the southeast Arabian Sea. It is likely to move north north-westward across the southeast Arabian Sea and adjoining the Lakshadweep area and intensify into a depression.
On Saturday, the Cyclonic storm has reached the shores of India. IMD officials said that cyclonic activity would bring rain or thunderstorms in the coastal belt between May 16 and 18, with some of the places in the region receiving heavy to extremely heavy rainfall on Monday and Tuesday.
Here’s everything you need to know about Cyclone Tauktae:
The first cyclone of 2021
The upcoming Cyclonic storm, first of 2021, is named Tauktae which means 'gecko', a highly vocal lizard, in the Burmese language. The name has been given by Myanmar. The name is the fourth from a new list of 169 names released by the IMD last year.
According to IMD, Tauktae could be taking shape from depression over Lakshadweep. It is likely to hit the Gujarat coast with a wind speed of 90-100 kilometre per hour, gusting to 115 kilometres per hour, on May 18. While Kerala is not in the path of the northward moving cyclone Tauktae, the southern state is already facing extremely heavy rainfall due to a low-pressure system over the Arabian Sea.
“From May 16-19, the Arabian sea depression 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 kilometres per hour,” Cyclone Warning Division of the IMD said.
As the low-pressure area develops slowly in the Arabian sea, states which are first to face the atrocities of cyclone include three districts of Kerala and Lakshadweep.
Kerala is already facing extremely heavy rainfalls since Thursday. Red alerts have been sounded for five northern districts — Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Kannur and Kasaragod — on Saturday given the likelihood of extremely heavy rainfall. Seven central and southern districts - Thrissur, Idukki, Ernakulam, Kottayam, Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta and Kollam are on orange alert for scattered heavy to very heavy rainfall.
The Central Water Commission (CWC) on Saturday also issued a warning for Kerala and Tamil Nadu, predicting a severe flood situation in the two states.
IMD has also said that South Konkan and Goa regions could receive light to moderate rainfall at many places on May 15. There were several incidents of a tree failing due to cyclonic winds in South Goa on Friday.
Gujarat coast would receive rainfall from May 17 onwards. The intensity is expected to escalate during the subsequent days with heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places over Saurashtra and Kutch on May 18 and isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall over Kutch and adjoining southwest Rajasthan on May 19.
IMD has also alerted several districts in Maharashtra to brace for heavy rainfall on May 16 and May 17. Mumbai, Thane and Raigad would receive very heavy rainfall on May 17, while Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts as very likely to receive heavy to very heavy rainfall on May 16 and May 17.
According to the IMD report, Kolhapur and Satara in western Maharashtra are expected to receive heavy to very heavy rain at isolated places in ghat areas on May 16 and May 17, while a similar warning is issued for Pune on May 17 only.
Preparedness on the ground
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has earmarked 100 teams to tackle possible after-effects of cyclone 'Tauktae'. NDRF Director General S N Pradhan said in a tweet that these teams are being deployed in the coastal regions of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Goa and Maharashtra.
In Kerala, Nine teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed in various districts to tackle contingencies. The army and air force units also are on standby. On Friday night, the Coast Guard rescued three fishermen from the sea off Kannur.
Kerala government has set up relief camps in Alappuzha in the light of heavy rains. 125 families from various coastal areas of Kozhikode district have been relocated to safer locations. In Kerala's capital Thiruvananthapuram, more than 75 families have been relocated from disaster-prone areas to relief camps.
In Goa, the disaster management response forces of the state's two districts - South Goa and North Goa - led by the respective collectors, held meetings on Friday to check the preparedness. The Goa Fire and Emergency Services said it has kept its The Emergency Services, with its force of 800 personnel, ready to tackle any situation.
In Maharashtra, 17 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed in various districts 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.
The Mumbai civic body on Friday decided to suspend its COVID-19 vaccination drive for the next two days. The decision was taken to avoid troubles for senior citizens and also possible crowding as the city is expected to get rains due to the cyclone.
In Gujarat, 30 NDRF teams have been pre-deployed or stationed on the ground while 26 teams are on stand-by.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also hold a meeting on Saturday to review preparations against Cyclone Tauktae.
(With inputs from PTI)