CYCLONE TAUKTAE claimed at least 13 lives and left a trail of destruction in Gujarat’s Saurashtra region after it made landfall near Una in Gir Somnath district on Monday, bringing along with it very strong winds and heavy rainfall that damaged nearly 16,500 houses and uprooted over 40,000 trees.
Power outages were reported from 5,951 villages, including 52 Covid-19 hospitals and 13 oxygen plants.
Twelve people were killed in Maharashtra. In Mumbai, the cyclone claimed three lives, while five people were killed in Thane and Palghar districts, PTI reported, quoting officials.
In Raigad district, four people were killed in separate incidents, PTI reported.
Meanwhile, many of the 137 people who were on board the ill-fated Gal Constructor barge ship and were rescued said they had given up hope of escaping alive and “stared at death” as their barge nearly hit an oil rig.
In Mumbai, the Santacruz observatory recorded 230 mm rain in 24 hours ending 8.30 am Tuesday. The all-time record for 24-hour rainfall in May was previously 190 mm (in 2000).
According to IMD’s records, Cyclone Tauktae is also most likely the first extremely severe cyclone with gusting wind speeds of 200 kmph to reach close to the Mumbai coast in the last 130 years.
In Goa, the Directorate of Fire Services received 1,387 emergency calls from May 15 to 18 about fallen trees across the state. The Navy also joined the relief operations, with a rescue team from Goa Naval Area undertaking road clearance by cutting trees and at Hollant village, which was isolated by fallen trees and electric poles.
Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani, who took stock of the situation from the State Emergency Operation Centre in Gandhinagar, said on Tuesday evening, “Not directly from cyclone but, so far, 13 accidental deaths have been reported.” He said intensity of the cyclone reduced as it crossed Ahmedabad district and moved towards Mehsana.
He said: “As many as 69,429 electric poles have been damaged.”
Heavy rain in Amreli district, two talukas of Gir Somnath
While most parts of the state continued to receive rainfall till Tuesday morning, six talukas received between 8-10 inch rainfall, 12 talukas between 6-7 inch rainfall, 10 talukas more than 5-inch rainfall and 96 talukas with more than 1-inch rainfall.
Talukas in Kheda, Valsad, Anand, Navsari and Surat recorded highest rainfall. Nadiad in Kheda received the highest of 216 mm, Bhavnagar received 161 mm, Matar inKheda and Umergam in Valsad received 147 mm rainfall till 6 pm.
Other parts that recorded heavy showers include Vaso in Kheda, Tarapur in Anand, Pardi in Valsad, Mahudha inKheda, Anand, Kheda, Surat City, Khambhat in Anand, Oplad in Surat and Sojitra in Anand.
Cyclone to weaken into ‘deep depression’: IMD
A bulletin issued by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Tuesday afternoon stated the cyclonic storm ‘Tauktae’ lay centred over Saurashtra, about 190 km southwest of Deesa, 75 km south-southwest of Ahmedabad and 40 km west of Surendranagar.
“Current, intensity near the centre is 70-80 kilometre per hour (kmph), gusting to 90 kmph past movement, moved north-northeastwards with a speed of 22 kmph during past 6:00 hours. It would further move north-northeastwards and weaken gradually into a deep depression during the next six hours,” the bulletin stated.
Pankaj Kumar, the additional chief secretary (revenue) of the Gujarat government, said when the extremely severe cyclonic storm made landfall near Una around 9 pm on Monday the persistent windspeed was 150 kmph. However, its impact was felt the most in neighbouring Jafrabad and Rajula, where winds gusted up to 185 km per hour, Kumar said.
Till Monday night, the cyclone passed over Saurashtra with a wind speed of 160 kmph, which has now reduced to 100-110 kmph.
Heavy rainfall in Ahmedabad
As the cyclone crossed the Saurashtra region and Ahmedabad district, very high-velocity winds swept Ahmedabad city while heavy rainfall was recorded till Tuesday evening. Ahmedabad city alone recorded nearly 100 mm rainfall till Tuesday afternoon.
Two talukas of Ahmedabad district — Viramgam and Dhandhuka — are expected to be affected the most, Arun Mahesh Babu, the district development officer of Ahmedabad, said. “Bavla, Mandal, Detroj, Dholka and Daskroi talukas are also likely to be affected as the eye of the cyclone passes through Nalsarovar lake in Ahmedabad district and enter Sanand. The buffer is expected to brush through western Ahmedabad and move towards Gandhinagar,” the DDO said.
In Ahmedabad, till afternoon, nearly 190 incidents of falling of trees were reported. To avoid any flood-like situation, two floodgates of the Vasna barrage were opened Tuesday and the water level of the Sabarmati River reduced from 133 to 130 feet.
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