Cyclone Ockhi updates: Storm weakens, may not hit Gujarat coast, says IMD
Ahmedabad/Mumbai: Cyclone Ockhi is gradually weakening into a depression and may not hit the Gujarat coast near Surat as predicted earlier, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in Ahmedabad on Tuesday night.
Cyclone Ockhi has already turned into a “deep depression” and may hit south Gujarat only as a “depression” late tonight, according to an official statement. The deep depression is located around 240km south-southwest of Surat.
“The deep depression over east-central Arabian Sea moved further north-northeastwards with a speed of 18km/h during the past six hours and lay centred over east-central Arabian Sea near latitude 19.4º N and longitude 71.5º E, about 240 km south-southwest of Surat and 150 km west-northwest of Mumbai,” the IMD forecast said. “It is very likely to continue to move north-northeastwards, weaken further and cross south Gujarat and adjoining north Maharashtra coasts near Surat as a depression by tonight (5 December 2017),” the bulletin read.
Water level in Gujarat, Maharashtra rivers set to rise
New Delhi: The government on Tuesday issued an advisory in view of Cyclone Ockhi, warning of a “rapid” rise in the water level of rivers in parts of Maharashtra and Gujarat.
The water resources ministry asked authorities in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Odisha to ensure “sufficient vigil” in coastal areas for the next three days as the path of a depression developing in the Bay of Bengal “is not yet well- established”.
According to the advisory, the rivers in North Konkan, north-central Maharashtra and Gujarat are likely to rise rapidly. “Rivers in the Godavari basin in North Madhya Maharashtra in Nasik district are likely to rise...as the rainfall is likely to affect only a very small catchment area of this basin...not much effect will be felt in the Godavari and its tributaries,” it read. The Damanganga river and its tributaries in Nasik, Valsad districts in Gujarat and Daman and Diu may also rise.
“As the rainfall will be only for one day, no major flooding is expected in the basin,” the ministry added. The Mahi river in Gujarat may rise in view of heavy rain in Mahisagar, Panchmahal, Kheda and Vadodara. The water level in the Sabarmati may increase in areas which are directly in the path of the cyclone “which would have weakened sufficiently by the time it reaches this basin”, according to the advisory.
J.P. Nadda speaks to Gujarat, Tamil Nadu health ministers
New Delhi: Union healh minister J.P. Nadda on Tuesday spoke to health ministers of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, assuring them of all help from the centre for dealing with the possible damage caused by Cyclone Ockhi.
“The Centre will provide full cooperation and assistance to the cyclone-affected states in terms of preventive and relief measures for managing the situation,” a health ministry statement said. Nadda said his ministry is geared up with all necessary resources and a team of doctors has been put on standby for any exigency. He also directed the officials in his ministry to stay in touch with the state health departments for any assistance.
Coast Guard ship locates 15 boats, provides assistance to fishermen
Mumbai: A Coast Guard ship on Tuesday evening located 15 boats off Lakshadweep and provided assistance to 184 fishermen on board, as part of its Cyclone Ockhi relief operations. “The ship, ICGS Samrat, on reaching the indicated position in the morning, located 15 fishing boats with 14 belonging to Tamil Nadu and one to Kerala respectively,” a Coast Guard statement said.
“During the ongoing search-and-rescue operation, a Coast Guard Dornier aircraft on a search mission sighted a cluster of fishing boats in the sea area of Lakshadweep Islands. Coast Guard ship Samrat was immediately diverted to provide assistance to the fishing boats,” it added.
Every attempt is being made by Coast Guard, Indian Navy & Indian Air Force to get the missing fishermen and to bring them back to safety. I have been quoting the numbers given to me by the state govt: Union Defence Minister Sitharaman #CycloneOckhi pic.twitter.com/ypsJIHphAp— ANI (@ANI) December 5, 2017
“The fishing boats were located in two clusters of six and nine respectively, about 40km apart from each other and about 125km from Bitra Island,” the statement said. Bitra, also known as Bitra Par, is a coral atoll belonging to the Amindivi sub-group of the islands of Lakshadweep.
EC directive on Gujarat elections in view of Cyclone Ockhi
Ahmedabad: The Election Commission (EC) on Tuesday asked poll authorities in Gujarat to ensure that voters in assembly seats falling in the path of Cyclone Ockhi are able to cast exercise their franchise on 9 December without inconvenience despite inclement weather. Citing a weather bulletin, EC pointed out that the movement of the cyclonic depression over parts of Gujarat is likely to be accompanied by a wet spell over the next 3-4 days. In a letter to the chief electoral officer of Gujarat, EC said considering the cyclone alert and the scheduled first phase of polls on 9 December, “besides making effective arrangements for immediate relief and rehabilitation, adequate, effective and fool-proof arrangements may also be made...towards the smooth and efficient conduct of the election process”. It said the authorities should also ensure that all the voters are “able to exercise their franchise without any inconvenience”.
Gujarat on alert as Cyclone Ockhi approaches
Ahmedabad: As Gujarat remained on alert, Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to BJP workers to extend a helping hand to those that would be likely hit by the cyclone. Modi also said he is constantly monitoring the situation in various parts of the country. “Spoke to all relevant authorities and officials. All possible assistance is being provided to those affected,” he tweeted.
With #CycloneOckhi expected to make a landfall in Gujarat, I appeal to @BJP4Gujarat Karyakartas to focus on helping people across the state. Our Karyakartas should devote themselves to providing all possible assistance and stand shoulder to shoulder with fellow citizens.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 5, 2017
The cyclone is approaching Gujarat steadily and now lies centred in the Arabian Sea just 390 km away from Surat, said an official of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) in Ahmedabad. As per the latest bulletin of IMD, the Ockhi is expected to hit the coastline near Surat by midnight tonight. “It is very likely to continue to move north-northwestwards, weaken gradually and cross south Gujarat and adjoining Maharashtra coasts near Surat as a deep depression by the night of 5 December,” it said.
Several districts in Gujarat received light rain since morning, even as almost the entire state experienced overcast skies. The IMD has forecast light to moderate rainfall in most places with heavy rainfall at isolated places in Saurashtra and south Gujarat. It has warned that when the cyclone hits the Gujarat coast, “wind speed would remain between 50 and 60 kmph and may reach up to 70 kmph in south Gujarat.”
Rains lash Mumbai, no loss of life, property
Mumbai: The cyclonic storm passed the Mumbai coast bringing rains in its wake but did not cause any damage to life or property, a senior civic official said. Mumbai and its suburbs experienced rains since Tuesday morning but subsided by the afternoon even as hailstorm lashed some sections of the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. The country’s financial capital had also experienced showers last night.
The traffic on Eastern and Western Express Highways in Mumbai slowed down after rain lashed some parts of the city throughout last night. There were traffic curbs in some places in view of the expected rush of followers of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar on his death anniversary on Wednesday. The IMD has forecast intermittent rains in Mumbai and its suburbs in the next 24 hours. “Heavy rainfall is likely at a few places with squally wind speed reaching 50 to 60 kms per hour gusting to 70 kms per hour very likely along coastal area in next 24 hours,” IMD said.
167 fishermen still missing in the aftermath of Cyclone Ockhi
New Delhi: As many as 39 people have perished and 167 fishermen were still missing after cyclone Ockhi hit Tamil Nadu and Kerala coasts while 809 others were swept away to Maharashtra, the union home ministry said Tuesday. Joint secretary in the ministry Sanjeev Kumar Jindal also said the cyclone is slowing down and would have no impact in Gujarat, where the first of the two-phased assembly elections is due four days later. “As of now, 10 people lost their lives in Tamil Nadu and 29 others in Kerala. Even though the exact number of missing persons were not known, as per available information, whereabouts of 74 fishermen in Tamil Nadu and 93 fishermen in Kerala is not known yet,” he told reporters in New Delhi.
The Kerala government today, meanwhile, intensified search and rescue operations to trace the 93 fishermen. “Operation Synergy”, a joint rescue mission by Navy, Air force, Coast guards and state fisheries department had so far rescued 252 fishermen who were stranded in the seas in the aftermath of the cyclone.
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has asked fishermen on both eastern and western coasts not to venture out in the sea for the next three days as heavy rainfall is expected in many areas due to the cyclone.
Provide adequate amenities to cyclone-affected: Madras HC
Madurai: The Madras High Court today directed the Tamil Nadu government to provide adequate basic amenities to those affected by Cyclone Ockhi in Kanyakumari district. Justices M. Venugopal and Dharani of the Madurai bench gave the direction on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by Wilso Tasbin, who alleged that relief and rehabilitation work by the government in the district was inadequate.
The bench directed the government officials to provide adequate medicines, electricity and water for the people and also all basic amenities in camps. The judges posted the case for 8 December and asked the government to file a report on relief provided for cyclone victims and efforts to rescue fishermen.
Goa govt to assess damage of cyclone-hit shacks for payout
Panaji: The Goa government on Tuesday said that the owners of the shacks that were hit by high tides caused by Cyclone Ockhi, would be given compensation only after a comprehensive assessment of the damage is carried out. Chief minister Manohar Parrikar chaired a meeting of Disaster Management Authority (DMA) and high-ranking district officials today to assess the situation arising out of unprecedented high tide due to Cyclone Ockhi that damaged the beach shacks in the state.