New Delhi: The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Saturday evening said that Cyclone Tauktae has intensified into a severe cyclonic storm over east central Arabian Sea. It also added that the cyclonic storm has moved nearly northwards with a speed of 12 kilometres per hour.  Giving further updates, the IMD added that Cyclone Tauktae is likely to intensify further into a very severe cyclonic storm on Saturday night and is very likely to move north-northwestwards and reach the coast of Gujarat on the morning of May 18. Moreover, the cyclone will likely cross Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Naliya on the afternoon or evening of May 18. In the meantime, the IMD has issued a yellow alert to the coasts of Gujarat and Diu. Also Read - Goa To Make Both Vaccine Doses, Negative COVID Test Report Mandatory For Tourists

Details from IMD: The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said at a high-level meeting that cyclone Tauktae is likely to cause heavy rainfall in the coastal districts of Gujarat, including extremely heavy falls in Junagadh and Gir Somnath and heavy to very heavy rain at a few places in the districts of Saurashtra, Kutch and Diu, namely Gir Somnath, Diu, Junagadh, Porbandar, Devbhoomi Dwarka, Amreli, Rajkot, Jamnagar. Also Read - Gujarat Lockdown: Night Curfew to Continue in 8 Municipal Corporations, Timing Reduced by 1 Hour in 18 Cities

9 Missing in Lakshadweep: On the other hand, 9 people on Saturday went missing after a fishing boat named Aandavar Thunai from Kerala’s Kochi coast capsized near Lakshadweep due to strong windstorm in view of cyclone Tauktae. Of the total 9 people, seven were from Tamil Nadu’s Nagapattanam and remaining from West Bengal. Also Read - Weather Alert! Thunderstorm, Gusty Winds Expected in Delhi, UP & 7 States/UTs

According to reports, more than 850 boats from Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have been on the sea and one instruction has been given to shelter any boat that comes to the coast and those in boats will have to undergo Covid-19 tests.

PM Modi reviews preparation: Earlier on Saturday, PM Modi held a meeting to review the preparedness of states, central ministries and agencies to deal with the situation arising out of the cyclonic storm. In the review meeting, the PM asked the officials to ensure safe evacuation of all affected people.

IAF gets ready: In the meantime, the Indian Air Force said it has kept 16 transport aircraft and 18 helicopters in readiness in peninsular India as part of preparations to deal with the situation that could arise out of cyclone Tauktae. The IAF has also decided to focus on COVID relief operations in the coastal areas in the next few days as bad weather is likely to affect air operations later.

“The IAF has kept 16 transport aircraft and 18 helicopters on op readiness in peninsular India in preparation for the Cyclone Tauktae which is expected to cause very heavy to extremely heavy rainfall along the western coast of India in the next few days,” the IAF said in a statement.