At least seven people were killed in Gujarat as cyclone Tauktae battered parts of the state and left behind a trail of destruction along the coast, uprooting electric poles and trees, and damaging several houses and roads, officials said on Tuesday.
Over 16,000 houses were damaged, and more than 40,000 trees and over 1,000 poles uprooted due to the cyclonic storm, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said.
The landfall process of the eye of the extremely severe cyclonic storm Tauktae, which hit the Gujarat coast in Saurashtra region between Diu and Una, ended around midnight, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
It crossed the Gujarat coast as an "extremely severe cyclonic storm" and gradually weakened.
On Tuesday morning, it lay over the Saurashtra region near Amreli as a "severe severe cyclonic storm," and was likely to weaken gradually into a cyclonic storm by the afternoon, the IMD said in its latest bulletin.
The wind intensity reduced to 105-115 kmph gusting to 125 kmph, as the cyclone lay 15 km east-northeast of Amreli, around 125 km south-southwest of Surendranagar, and 205 km southwest of Ahmedabad, as per the IMD bulletin at 10.30 am.
Even as the cyclonic intensity weakened, it left behind a trail of destruction, with at least seven people losing their lives - three in Bhavnagar, and one each in Rajkot, Patan, Amreli and Valsad, officials said.
An official of the State Emergency Operation Centre (SEOC) confirmed three casualties due to the cyclone, one each from Rajkot, Valsad and Bhavnagar.
An electric pole fell on a woman while she was sleeping in Patan town late Monday night amid strong wind, an official from Patan A-division police station said.
A woman and her daughter were killed when the wall of their house collapsed at Badeli village in Palitana taluka of Bhavnagar, a local administration official said.
In another incident, a girl died after the roof of their house collapsed on four members of the family at Rajula in Amreli district on Monday night, police said.
Chief Minister Rupani told reporters in Gandhinagar that 16,500 houses, mostly thatched ones, were damaged, and more than 40,000 trees and 1,081 poles, mainly of electric supply, were uprooted due to the cyclone.
Also, 159 roads were damaged and 196 blocked due to different reasons, he said, adding that 45 of them were so far cleared for traffic movement.
There was power outage in 2,437 villages and the supply has been restored in 484 villages till now, he said.
Rupani said the state government's major concern was uninterrupted treatment of COVID-19 patients in around 1,400 hospitals across the state.
Out of these facilities, 16 faced power outage due to the cyclone. The electric supply was restored in 12 of them, while the remaining four were operating on backup power generators, he said.
The production of medical oxygen at a plant in Bhavnagar was disrupted due to the cyclonic storm, but the supply continued. from the buffer stock, he informed.
According to the IMD, most places of Gujarat and Saurashtra meteorological regions of the state are likely to receive light to moderate rainfall on Tuesday, with heavy to very rainfall and extremely heavy rainfall in isolated places in these areas.
The wind speed is likely to decrease during the day, it said, adding that "astronomical high" tidal waves would continue to inundate coastal areas, it said.
As many as 35 talukas received more than one inch rainfall, with Bagasara taluka receiving 9 inches of rainfall, Gir Gadhada-8 inches, Una-8 inches, Savarkundla-7 inches and Amreli-5 inches downpour.
Rajula, Khamba, and Babra talukas also received 5 inches rainfall each, the CM said.
"The administration remains on standby mode and is working to clear roads, restore power and water supplies. The animal husbandry department is taking care of the cattle by shifting them to safer places," Rupani said.
The state government had shifted over two lakh people to safer locations before the cyclone hit the Gujarat coast.
The cyclone hit the coast between Diu and Una around 9 pm on Monday and landfall ended around midnight, the IMD said.
The landfall process started with the entry of the "forward sector of the eye of the cyclone" into the land near the Union Territory of Diu with a wind speed of between 150 and 175 km per hour, IMD officials said.
Landfall is the storm moving over the land after its intensification in the ocean (heat source). A cyclone is said to make landfall when the centre of the storm (eye) moves across the coast.
The landfall brings with it high-speed winds, severe storm surge and torrential downpour.
The storm usually weakens rapidly after the landfall as the ocean heat and moisture that fuel it are no longer available. The place above which the eye of a cyclone crosses is designated as the place of landfall, an official said.
A major cyclone in Gujarat on June 9, 1998, had brought widespread death and destruction in its wake, particularly in the port town of Kandla.
While official figures had then put the death toll at 1,173, adding 1,774 went missing, media reports, eyewitness and volunteer accounts suggested this was grossly an understatement.
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