BENGALURU/PANAJI/ AHMEDABAD: 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 eight people dead, damaging hundreds of houses, uprooting electricity poles and trees and forcing evacuation in low-lying areas.
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.
Strong winds with speed reaching up to 90 km/per were lashing the western coastal region. 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.
An estimated 1.5 lakh people are being shifted from low-lying coastal areas in Gujarat while 54 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) have been deployed in the state.
Maharashtra too was bracing for the storm 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.
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.
Four deaths were reported from Karnataka’s Uttara Kannada, Udupi, Chikkamagaluru and Shivamogga districts and two in Goa in cyclone-related incidents. Two deaths were reported from Maharashtra, where two sisters — 17 years old & 12 years old — lost their lives after a tree uprooted and collapsed on their hut.
Gusty winds and heavy rains started lashing several parts of Goa since Saturday night disrupting power supply in a large part of the state.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said the major impact of the cyclonic winds was felt in Bardez taluka in North Goa district and Mormugao in South Goa.
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