Cyclone Vayu to hit Gujarat on June 13

Gujarat Cyclone Warning

KARACHI: Tropical Cyclone "Vayu" in the East Arabian Sea has intensified as "Very Severe Cyclonic Storm" (VSCS) and is now located at a distance of about 725 km from Karachi, the Pakistan Meteorological Department said in an update issued to media on Wednesday.

After India's home minister, Amit Shah, held a meeting today with government and military officials, air force planes carried 39 National Disaster Response Force teams to the western coast.

At winds of up to 200 km/h (125mph), it was more potent than Cyclone Vayu is predicted to be.

The Gujarat Government, as per Chief Minister Vijay Rupani's instructions, has announced a two-day shutdown of all schools, colleges and anganwadis across six coastal districts in Saurashtra. He also appealed to tourists to be careful and take shelter in safe places ahead of the cyclone.

According to Radio Pakistan, Director Fisheries Sindh has advised fishermen to remain alert and not to venture in deep sea for fishing. "The Ministry of Home Affairs is in continuous touch with the state governments and the Central agencies concerned", an official statement said.

"Gale wind speed of the order of 110-120 kmph gusting to 135 kmph very likely over north Arabian Sea and Gujarat coast in morning hours and decrease gradually thereafter".

Gujarat and Diu authorities have planned to evacuate about three lakh people from identified vulnerable areas starting Wednesday morning.

Nayara Energy, owned by a consortium led by Russia's Rosneft, said it was monitoring the situation and also taking precautionary measures at its Gujarat refinery. It is likely to strengthen into a severe cyclonic storm by June 12.

The port at the Gulf of Cambay in Gujarat has suspended all operations.

After the weather warning, the government convened a high-level meeting in which it chose to deploy 15 teams of the NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) immediately. "Considering the alertness for Cyclone Vayu over Gujarat, the Western Railway has chose to fully cancel operation of 70 mainline trains, while 28 other mainline trains will be short terminated with partial cancellation as a precautionary measure in the cyclone prone areas", it said in a statement.

In this manner, the entire West Coast, including Gujarat, would witness the monsoon make an onset over the parched lands accompanied by heavy rain.

The Western Railway will run relief special trains, two of which are scheduled to be run in Rajkot division and one in Bhavnagar division to evacuate passengers from coastal areas.

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