Biparjoy likely to hit Gujarat coast on Thursday

 

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MUMBAI:

A storm off India’s west coast has strengthened to become a powerful cyclone and could hit India’s western state of Gujarat and southern parts of Pakistan on Thursday, India’s Met said. The cyclone, named Biparjoy, is expected to make landfall on Thursday afternoon between Mandvi in Gujarat and Karachi in Pakistan with a maximum sustained wind speed of 125-135 km per hour, gusting up to 150 km per hour, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Monday.

 

India’s Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways and Ayush, Sarbananda Sonowal on Monday chaired a high-level meeting with senior officials of the port authority to review preparedness for the upcoming Cyclone Biparjoy in the Northern Arabian Sea.During the virtual meeting, Mr. Sonowal directed the senior officers to take every possible measure to ensure that people living in vulnerable locations are safe, the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways said.

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India’s weather office has advised fishing communities to halt operations and the evacuation of people from the coastal areas of Saurashtra and Kutch regions of Gujarat. Two of India biggest ports – Mundra and Kandla – are in the Gulf of Kutch, while the Jamnagar refinery, the world’s biggest oil refinery complex owned by Reliance Industries, is based in Saurashtra.

 

The Gujarat Pipavav Port Limited, in a stock exchange filing on Monday, said operations at its Pipavav Port had been suspended since late evening on Saturday due to “prevailing severe weather conditions”.

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Seven teams of India’s National Disaster Response Force and 12 teams of State Disaster Response Force have been deployed in the districts likely to be affected by the storm, Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel said in a tweet.

Nearly a dozen districts in coastal Gujarat would be affected by heavy rainfall and gusting winds, although some of the districts are sparsely populated, which would limit the damage, said a weather office official, who declined to be named.

The weather office also cautioned about uprooting power and communication poles. It said there may be major damage to “kutcha and pucca roads,” flooding of escape routes. minor disruption of railways and overhead power lines and signalling systems.

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“Widespread damage to standing crops, plantations, orchards, falling of green coconuts and tearing of palm fronds. Blowing down bushy trees like mango. Small boats and country crafts may get detached from moorings,” it said and added that visibility might be severely affected due to salt spray.

Biparjoy delayed the onset of the annual monsoon over Kerala, but now conditions are favourable for the progress of much-needed rains in some more parts of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu states, the weather office said.