New Delhi: Cyclone Vayu, which was expected to make a landfall over the Gujarat coastline on Thursday afternoon, has changed its course and moved towards Oman even as the danger of heavy winds and rain in coastal areas continued. Also Read - Gujarat: 5 Patients Dead as Fire Breaks Out in ICU of COVID Hospital in Rajkot; PM Modi Expresses Pain
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said, “According to IMD bulletin, Cyclone Vayu, which was going to hit Gujarat, has moved towards Oman. But the administration will continue to be on high alert for the next 24 hours.” Also Read - Congress Leader Ahmed Patel Laid to Rest in Gujarat’s Bharuch, Rahul Gandhi Attends Funeral
Schools in coastal districts of Saurashtra and Kutch will remain closed Friday as a precaution, the chief minister said. Also Read - Ahmed Patel Passes Away: 'Lost an Irreplaceable Comrade,' Says Sonia Gandhi, Tributes Pour in From Political Circle
The Airport Authority of India (AAI) has decided to resume the airport operations gradually, starting from midnight.
The cyclone was earlier likely to make a landfall between Dwarka and Veraval on Thursday afternoon with a wind speed up to 155 km-165 km per hour and gusting at 180 km. But latest reports from the IMD said, “Cyclone Vayu won’t hit Gujarat. It will pass nearby from Veraval, Porbandar, Dwarka. Its effect will be seen in the coastal regions as there will be heavy wind speed and heavy rain as well.”
The impact of the cyclone was already being felt, not only in the coastal districts of Saurashtra region but across Gujarat with increased wind speeds and light to heavy showers at several places on Wednesday. As many as 57 talukas (tehsils) have received light to heavy showers in the state, officials said.
A 150-year-old Bhuteshwar Mahadev temple collapsed in Porbandar Thursday as waves and heavy rains lashed the coastal area.
A dozen talukas in the coastal belt received more than one inch of rain since Thursday morning due to the cyclone, an official release by the Gujarat government said.
In view of cyclonic storm inching towards Gujarat, the Odisha government on Wednesday had offered support to the western state to use its expertise on disaster preparedness mechanism. The Odisha government has received accolades across the country and abroad for its efforts in tackling the extremely severe cyclonic storm Fani and other cyclonic storms such as Hudhud, Failin and Titli.
Flight operations from Ahmedabad’s Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport to Porbandar, Diu, Kandla, Mundra and Bhavnagar in the Saurashtra region have been cancelled for Thursday, while all educational institutions have been shut and tourists on the Gujarat coast have been asked to steer out at the earliest, officials said.
Three special evacuation trains were being pressed into service, one from Okha in Saurashtra to Rajkot, and two trains with 21 coaches for Ahmedabad after 8.05 p.m., said Western Railways PRO Pradeep Sharma.