The coastal areas of Gujarat remained on a high alert Thursday despite authorities saying Cyclone Vayu was unlikely to make landfall in the state. The cyclonic storm, which is categorised as “very severe” changed its trajectory in the early hours of the day, but authorities have not discounted the threats from high-speed winds, dust storm, rough sea conditions and heavy rains.
“The threat of a surge in wind, dust storm and rainfall stays very much. The centre of the storm, known as the eye, has slightly moved away from the Gujarat coast, but its diameter is well over 900 km,” an Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) official told news agency PTI,
Reports had predicted that the cyclone was moving straight for the Gujarat coast. However, IMD announced on Thursday morning that Vayu had veered off its path and was instead moving north-northwest back into sea.
En route Gujarat, the cyclone had brought a good spell of rain to Mumbai and neighbouring Raigad, Thane and Palghar districts of Maharashtra.
On Thursday, in a massive evacuation drive, around three lakh people were shifted to safer places as the storm inched closer to Gujarat coast. It was expected to make landfall between Dwarka and Veraval this afternoon. As a precautionary measure, schools and colleges have been shut today and the Army, NDRF personnel, IAF helicopters have been asked to be on standby to overlook rescue and relief operations. Fishermen have also been warned not to venture into the sea as it has turned rough.
The Western Railways has cancelled 70 trains and will terminate 28 others due to Cyclone Vayu. Likewise, the Gujarat Maritime Board has also suspended all shipping activities across the Gulf of Khambhat and shifted over 1,600 workers, including those at the Alang shipbreaking yard and the Chara port. The RO-PAX ferry service, between Dahej and Gogha, located across the Gulf of Khambhat was also suspended.