Cyclone Vayu has changed its course and is unlikely to make landfall in Gujarat, but it will cause heavy rain in several coastal districts of the state, the India Meteorological Department said on Thursday.
The state government, as a precautionary measure, has evacuated over three lakh people living in low-lying areas and thatched houses in the coastal districts.
"It (Cyclone Vayu) may not make landfall. It will only skirt the coast. It has made a small deviation. But, its effect will be there with strong winds and heavy rain," Secretary at the Ministry of Earth Sciences M Rajeevan was quoted as saying by PTI.
IMD Additional Director General Devendra Pradhan said the cyclone will remain in the sea and move parallel to the Gujarat coast. "It has taken a slight westward movement. It will move parallel to the Gujarat coast," he said.
The cyclone was expected to make landfall on the Gujarat coast by Thursday afternoon and was likely to move along and parallel to the Saurashtra and Kutch coasts.
Speaking to reporters in Ahmedabad, the meteorological department's Additional Director Manorama Mohanti said the direction has "slightly" changed. "The 'very severe' cyclonic storm Vayu will not make landfall on the Saurashtra coast, but it will skirt the coast and affect Gir-Somnath, Junagadh, Porbandar, Devbhoomi-Dwarka districts and Union Territory Diu," she said.
"The eye of the storm will not enter Gujarat, but half of the storm, the outer peripheral part, will enter the state and affect the coastal areas," Mohanti said.
The storm is very likely to move north-northwestwards for sometime and then northwestwards skirting the Saurashtra coast affecting Gir Somnath, Diu, Junagarh, Porbandar and Devbhoomi Dwarka with wind speed between 135 and 145 kmph, gusting to 160 kmph from June 13 afternoon, the Cyclone Warning Division said in its latest bulletin. "Though now it will not make a landfall, it can cause damage and all the warnings for rainfall, ports and fishermen stay," Mohanti said.
Precautionary measures have been taken by the Gujarat government and over three lakh people living in low-lying areas and thatched houses in the coastal districts have been evacuated, an official said.
Operations at ports and airports, and train and bus services in the coastal districts have been suspended. The coast guard, army, navy, air force and the Border Security Force have been put on high alert.
Around 52 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and 11 columns (each having around 70 personnel) of the army have been deployed in the coastal districts.
Besides, 24 army columns have been kept reserved for any emergency situation.