As per the latest update of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), the very severe cyclonic storm ‘Nilofar’ has weakened which would further weaken as it would come closer to Gujarat coast and cross it as a marginal cyclonic storm with a wind speed of 60-70 kilometer per hour and a maximum speed of 80 kilometre per hour.
The very severe cyclonic storm Nilofar over west central Arabian sea moved North-North eastwards with a speed of 15 kilometre per hour during past 6 hours and lay centered at 870 kilometre west-southwest of Naliya and 870 kilometre south-southwest of Karachi in Pakistan, the IMD release stated.
Further, it would move north-northeastwards during next 12 hours and the northeastwards and cross north Gujarat and adjoining Pakistan coast around Naliya by October 31 night or early hours of November 1. “However, as the system would come closer to Gujarat coast it would weaken and cross as a marginal cyclonic storm with a speed of 60-70 kilometre per hour,” Ahmedabad’s centre of IMD deputy director Manorama Mohanty said.
With the landfall of cyclone, the state is expected to receive heavy to very heavy rainfall on October 31 and November 1.
Earlier, the system, which turned into a very severe cyclonic storm on Monday, lay about 1,080 km southwest of Naliya on Tuesday afternoon and 1,110 kms southwest of Karachi in Pakistan.
“It would move northnorthwestwards during next 12 hours and then gradually recurve northeastwards and cross North Gujarat and adjoining Pakistan coast around Naliya by November 1 forenoon,” IMD said in a bulletin on Tuesday.
“However, as the system would come closer to Gujarat coast, it would weaken and cross the coast as a cyclonic storm,” it added.
Under the influence of this system, heavy to very heavy rainfall has been forecast along the coastal districts of Saurashtra and Kutch from October 31 night.
The Met has already asked authorities to hoist distant warning signal No 2 on all ports.
Cyclone ‘Nilofar’ comes just weeks after cyclone ‘Hudhud’ hit the Eastern states of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, causing extensive damage in Vishakapatnam.
“We have also asked the district collectors to take the help of NCC, NSS and local NGOs,” Pandey said.
About the plans for dealing with possible communication failures, he said the Centre had provided ten satellite phones. “Three out of the ten satellite phones will be used in Kutch region which is likely to be more affected,” he added.
Asked about the fishermen who are still at sea, he said “according to the Fisheries Commissioner, around 400 fishermen have come back to the coast. But they are in a queue as there is a problem of anchoring the boats. We have asked the Collector to deal with this situation.
“We urge the people not to travel in the coastal regions of Gujarat including Kutch. We have also directed the district collectors to evacuate the tourists with the help of local police. No tourist will be permitted to travel in these areas during the severe cyclonic conditions,” Pandey said.
Meanwhile, the state’s chief secretary Varesh Sinha on Tuesday held a high-level meeting through video-conference with collectors and other officials.
Sinha asked the officers to identify places to accommodate evacuees and to ensure supply of food, water, medicines and generators.
The government has also asked the administration to evacuate salt pan workers and shut down the salt pan works.
Regarding the workers at ports, power plants and large industries, the state government has asked the respective managements to implement their on-site and off-site plans to control the movement of workers.
Sinha also asked the officers to make sure that people do not travel to pilgrimage sites in the coastal areas.
(With PTI inputs)