Cyclone Vayu changes course, unlikely to make landfall in Gujarat: IMD

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Mumbai: The severity of cyclone Vayu remains a threat for Gujarat's coastal areas even though it has changed course and is unlikely to make landfall in the state on Thursday, an IMD official said.

Daily rituals and prayers have remained unhindered at Gujarat's renowned Somnath Temple, located on the coast of the Arabian Sea, amid the alert issued in view of Cyclone Vayu.

The cyclone was not expected to directly affect the port city of Karachi, but the department said the weather system could cause dust storms and rain in various parts of the southern Sindh province. It will pass nearby from Veraval, Porbandar, Dwarka.

Weather officials said Cyclone Vayu, with wind speeds equivalent to those of a Category 1 hurricane, is set to cross the coast with sustained wind speeds of 145 kph to 155 kph (90 miles per hour to 96 mph), and could gust as high as 170 kph (106 mph).

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Meanwhile, the Western Railways have cancelled as many as 70 trains from the Saurashtra and Kutch regions, while 28 trains had been short terminated.

"After assessing the situation and the prevalent weather patterns as per the locally available meteorological reports, it has been decided that Kandla and Keshod Airports will resume normal flight operations from 12 midnight Thursday", the release stated.

"All possible measures are to be taken to avoid any human casualty and preparations be kept ready to restore any damage that may be caused to infrastructure".

Coastal areas in Gujarat have experienced heavy wind and rain, with huge waves splintering abandoned fishing boats.

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These airports are now witnessing a wind speed between 30 to 40 kilometre/hour gusting up to 60 km/hr and the situation is being closely monitored, it added. The rise in temperature is also expected to be accompanied with gusty winds during evenings.

The Chief Secretary of Gujarat, Jagdeep Narayan Singh said last night that around 2,80,000 people from the region that is expected to be affected due to the cyclone are evacuated to prevent any mishap.

The Air Force, Coastguard and Navy were all on high alert, with 36 teams from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) deployed in coastal areas. Aircraft and helicopters are carrying out aerial surveillance.

It was "very likely" to keep moving in the same direction, but still skirt the coast with winds of between 135-145 kph and gusts of 160 kph, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

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