New Delhi: The National Weather Forecasting Centre of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has warned that the cyclonic storm ‘Tauktae’ (Tau’Te) is very likely to intensify further into a Severe Cyclonic Storm during the next 6 hours and into a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm during the subsequent 12 hours. It is very likely to move north-north-westwards and cross the Gujarat coast between Porbandar & Naliya around the afternoon/evening of May 18.
Meanwhile. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold an important meeting today (Saturday) to review preparations to deal with impending Cyclone Tauktae, government sources were quoted as saying.
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has increased the number of teams earmarked to undertake relief and rescue measures from 53 to 100.
The force’s Director-General, S N Pradhan, said in a tweet that these teams are being mobilised for deployment in the coastal regions of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Goa and Maharashtra.
On Friday, he had said that 53 teams are being committed for the cyclonic storm that is developing in the Arabian sea.
Out of the 100 teams, the director general said 42 are being pre-deployed or stationed on the ground in six states while 26 are on stand-by.
Thirty-two teams are on backup and can be airlifted upon requirement, Pradhan said.
The NDRF chief also said that members of these teams have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and are equipped with the required tools.
A single NDRF team comprises 35-40 personnel and they are armed with tree and pole cutters, boats, basic medical aid and other relief and rescue equipment.
Kerala bears the brunt
Meanwhile, Kerala is already bearing the brunt of the storm. Trees were widely uprooted and fell upon houses and vehicles, causing rampant destruction across the state. Uprooted trees also caused traffic blocks in several places while the movement in Munnar-Vattavada road in Idukki was disrupted for some time. NDRF personnel were trying to remove trees and clear the paths, India Today quoted authorities as saying.
Roads damaged by high sea waves in Trivandrum. The severe impact of the rough sea has been witnessed in coastal villages of the state. In Kasargod, a 2 storied house collapsed completely into the sea.
Major destruction to houses and other public properties has been reported in Kerala due to the heavy rains and winds. Till now no major accident causing casualties has been reported. In Alappuzha, many trees and electric poles uprooted in the heavy winds. Power supply has been disrupted in many parts of the district. Many low-lying areas including Kuttanad inundated. In Ernakulam, Thrissur Districts, many houses inundated due to high tide. People from the affected areas have been shifted to nearby relief camps by the administration.
IMD has issued red alert in Ernakulam, Idukki, Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Kannur and Kasargod districts of Kerala for today.
Orange alert has been issued in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Kottayam and Alapuzha districts.