Bengaluru: Gale-force winds, heavy rainfall and high tidal waves swept the coastal belt of Kerala, Karnataka and Goa as Cyclone Tauktae hurtled northwards towards Gujarat on Sunday, leaving four people dead, damaging hundreds of houses, uprooting electricity poles and trees and forcing evacuation.
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Tauktae which has taken the form of a "very severe cyclonic storm" is likely to intensify further during the next 24 hours and reach the Gujarat coast on Monday evening.
An estimated 1.5 lakh people are being shifted from low-lying coastal areas in Gujarat while 54 teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) have been deployed in the state.
Maharashtra too was bracing for impact as the Met department predicted heavy to very heavy rains at isolated places in north Konkan, Mumbai, Thane and Palghar and extremely heavy rainfall in Raigad on Monday.
Four deaths have been reported from Karnataka's Uttara Kannada, Udupi, Chikkamagaluru and Shivamogga districts in cyclone-related incidents.
The water level in many dams across Kerala showed a rising trend after heavy rains in the catchment areas, prompting authorities to sound an alert.
Gusty winds and heavy rains started lashing several parts of Goa since Sunday morning.
Power supply in a majority of areas of Goa was disrupted as hundreds of electric poles were uprooted due to the high-speed winds, state Power Minister Nilesh Cabral told reporters.
"Many high tension 33 KV feeders are down due to the falling of trees. Even the 220 KV lines bringing power to Goa from neighbouring Maharashtra have been damaged," he said.
The electricity department deployed its full force for the restoration work, but it was getting hampered due to the strong winds, he said.
The state Fire and Emergency Services control room was flooded with hundreds of calls from locals about the falling of trees and blocked roads, its director Ashok Menon said.
"Our force has been working since last night to clear the roads and remove trees which have fallen on the power lines," Menon said.
In Karnataka, over 70 villages in seven districts including Dakshina Kannada, Kodagu and Hassan have been affected by the cyclone, the Karnataka State Disaster Management Authority officials said.
The highest rainfall of 385 mm was recorded at Nada Station in Kundapura taluk of Udupi district, which was the worst affected, and 15 stations recorded more than 200 mm of rainfall in the district.
The rainfall was accompanied by strong winds with speed reaching up to 90 km/per along.
According to the Cyclone Warning Division of the IMD, by May 18 the wind speed is expected to increase to 150-160 km per hour, gusting up to 175 km per hour.
Officials said nearly a dozen relief camps are functioning in the state. There has been damage to 112 houses, 139 electricity poles and other infrastructure in coastal areas.
ICG says all but 19 fishing boats have returned to ports in Maharashtra, Gujarat
The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) on Sunday said that all fishing boats, except 18 in Maharashtra and one in Gujarat, have reached their harbours or taken shelter at nearby ports. "Pre-emptive measures in full swing for Maharashtra & Gujarat. Barring 18 boats from Maharashtra and one boat from Gujarat, all boats have either returned harbour or taken shelter in nearby ports," the ICG said on Twitter.
With Cyclone Tauktae wreaking havoc in the coastal districts of the state, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Sunday asked district in-charge Ministers and Deputy Commissioners to visit affected areas and carry out rescue and relief works. Yediyurappa on Sunday called Ministers incharge of coastal districts and Deputy Commissioners there and took stock of the situation there, his office said in a statement. The Chief Minister has directed the officials to call the Ministers concerned or him directly if in need of any emergency assistance from the state government, it added. District administrations have been ordered to shift people from low lying areas, he had said, eight relief camps have been set up in three districts that can accommodate about 10,000 people where food and other basic amenities will be made available.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation shifted 580 patients from Covid care centres in the city as a precautionary measure after India Meteorological Department warned that Cyclone Tauktae is likely to pass close to the city, a BMC official said on Sunday. Officials are also contemplating a possible shut down of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link as a precautionary measure because of IMD's announcement that the cyclone may pass close to the city on Sunday....