Powerful Cyclone Tauktae made landfall close to Gujarat coast on Monday evening.
“The (Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm) Tauktae lies close to Gujarat coast. The landfall process started and will continue for next 3 hours,” Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) tweeted.
The outermost wall of the cyclone is passing over Saurashtra region, while the storm lay centred at 60 km south-southeast of Diu. It is likely to cross the Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Mahuva (Bhavnagar) during the night with wind speed up to 155-165 kmph, gusting to 175 kmph.
Heavy rain and strong winds battered coastal parts of western India as officials rushed to evacuate thousands of people including COVID-19 patients from hospitals near the coast.
With the cyclone intensifying into an “extremely severe” cyclonic storm, surprising many experts, Mumbai witnessed heavy rainfall with gusty winds over 100 kmph.
At least 12 people were reported to have died and nine others have been injured in Gujarat and Maharashtra.
Closure of operations at Mumbai airport was extended till 10 pm. Ports were also closed as precautionary measure.
In Gujarat, at least 150,000 people were evacuated from their homes to safe places in anticipation of Tauktae threatening to wreak havoc.
PM Narendra Modi earlier in the day spoke to chief ministers of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa, and the Lieutenant Governor of Daman & Diu to discuss preparation and response to Cyclone Tauktae.