As the Cyclone Tauktae whirls towards the Gujarat coast, Maharashtra is preparing to grapple its impact on the coastal Konkan and some interiors which are likely to be affected with heavy rains and gusty winds, officials said here on Saturday.
The entire coastal belt comprising Palghar, Thane, Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg besides Mumbai is in a state of high alert with all rescue and relief agencies in full preparedness to tackle any eventualities.
The NDRF has deployed 3 teams in Mumbai, 15 in Pune and one in Goa with Cyclone Tauktae now said to be in the Arabian Sea off north Karnataka-south Maharashtra coasts.
However, officials are optimistic that Maharashtra may escape the fury of the cyclone as it is likely to pass around 250 kms in the Arabian Sea, moving at an average speed of 7 kms/hr.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has reviewed the situation and asked the people and the government machinery to be vigilant, rekindling memories of the devastating Cyclone Nisarga that pounded Raigad-Ratnagiri in June 2020, at the height of the pandemic lockdown.
"In a preparatory meeting regarding Cyclone Tauktae on Friday night, Thackeray has instructed all Divisional Commissioners and district Collectors to be vigilant and well-equipped in coastal areas, especially in Palghar, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg," informed an official of the CMO.
Minister for Higher & Technical Education Uday Samant, who hails from Konkan said that the authorities are in complete readiness to handle any eventuality over the next few days.
"We have also made special arrangements for hospitals and Covid-19 care centres, arranged backup generators for oxygen plants, fleets of ambulances deployed in case patients need to be evacuated and other requirements," Samant said.
Head of SID at the Climate Research and Services Pune, K. S. Hosalikar said that the latest satellite images indiciate the system is getting matured and cloud bands are now on coastal north Karnataka, Goa and south Maharashtra also.
Since past three days, a low pressure area has been rapidly developing over the Lakshadweep Isles and the Arabian Sea, with a powerful Cyclone Tauktae expected to hit the states on the west-coast of India, the IMD said.
The IMD has already put Mumbai and Thane under a Yellow Alert, signifying isolated heavy rains accompanied by strong winds, while an Orange Alert and Red Alert has been issued for several districts of Gujarat and Kerala.
The Cyclone Tauktae will intensify into a full-fledged cyclonic storm on Sunday, causing heavy rains accompanied by gusty winds in southern and western coastal parts of the country, and it is expected to lash Gujarat coast by morning of May 18.
The storm has already resulted in rainfall in large areas in Lakshadweep Isles, Kerala, parts of Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri and Palghar, with predictions of heavy to very heavy spells in some places and extremely heavy rains in isolated places till Sunday.
In Kerala, more heavy to very heavy rains are forecast for Saturday and heavy to very heavy rainfall at isolated places on Sunday and Monday, according to the IMD.
The cyclone would trigger heavy rains in Mumbai, coastal Southern Konkan region's Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts of Maharashtra, parts of Goa and Gujarat over the next three days when it reaches the Gujarat coast on Tuesday.
Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg are likely to witness very heavy rains on Sunday and Monday, while Mumbai, Thane, Raigad will be clobbered with very heavy downpour on Monday, besides thunderstorms likely to hit Satara, Kolhapur, parts of the Western Ghats and Pune over Sunday and Monday.
Coastal Maharashtra especially south Konkan could be lashed by squalls reaching speeds of upto 60 kmph on Saturday, and increasing up to 80 kmph on Maharashtra-Goa coasts on Sunday (May 16), besides very rough seas.
Fishermen already out in the Arabian Sea have been advised to return and others are warned not to venture into the sea from May 14-18.