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 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 150,000 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 most areas of Goa was disrupted as hundreds of electric poles were uprooted due to the high-speed winds, state power minister Nilesh Cabral told PTI.
The electricity department deployed its full force for restoration work but it was 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 IMD has issued orange alerts—a warning indicating heavy to very heavy rain—on Sunday in three Kerala districts—Ernakulam, Idukki and Malappuram.
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