The Kerala government today issued the red alert for eight districts as the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said in its latest update that the deep depression formed over the Arabian Sea due to Cyclone Tauktae has intensified during the past 24 hours and is expected to gain strength in the coming hours.
The storm is expected to hit Kerala within the next 24 hours and reach Gujarat coast by May 18.
In Kerala, the state government has put the districts of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Malappuram, Kozhikkode, Wayanad, Kannur and Kasargod under Red Alert due to the cyclone.
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), meanwhile, has earmarked 53 teams to tackle possible after-effects of Cyclone Tauktae that is developing in the Arabian Sea, a senior officer said.
NDRF Director General S N Pradhan said in a tweet that these teams are being deployed in the coastal regions of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Maharashtra.
He said of the 53 teams, 24 have been pre-deployed or stationed on ground, the rest are on stand-by.
A single NDRF team comprises about 40 personnel and they are armed with tree and pole cutters, boats, basic medical aid and other relief and rescue equipment.
As per the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) and advisories issued by some of these coastal states, a pressure area had formed over the southeast Arabian Sea and adjoining Lakshadweep area on Thursday.
"It will concentrate into a depression over the same region by Saturday morning and intensify into a cyclonic storm during the subsequent 24 hours," the IMD said in the warning report.
It is very likely to intensify further and move north-northwestwards Gujarat and adjoining Pakistan coasts.
The advisory said the cyclonic storm is likely to reach near the Gujarat coast around May 18 evening.
The name 'Tauktae' has been given by Myanmar which means 'gecko'. This is going to be the first cyclonic storm of this year along the Indian coast.
In Maharashtra, meanwhile, 142 fishing boats have returned to the shore today as IMD said ‘Tauktae’ may hit parts of Mumbai and Konkan by May 16.
Following the weather advisory, the department had alerted fishermen to return to the shore, he said.
The IMD has said Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts are likely to get heavy to very heavy rainfall on Sunday and Monday, while Mumbai, Thane and Raigad would get very heavy rainfall on Monday.
Raigad is also expected to experience thunderstorms with lightning and gusty winds Saturday onwards.