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Relief as cyclone spares Gujarat

india Updated: Nov 12, 2009 00:36 IST
Prasad Nichenametla
Prasad Nichenametla
Hindustan Times
Relief as cyclone spares Gujarat

Cyclone Phyan, expected to hit parts of Gujarat on Wednesday, weakened early evening, prompting the state government to withdraw cyclone warnings. Most boats stranded at sea had also returned by late evening.

The storm, hovering around 500 km south-west of Surat before noon, crossed the coast between Alibaug and Mumbai between 3:30 and 4:30 pm. It weakened into a depression but moved north-east towards Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.

“The cyclone has weakened considerably and is slowly moving in the north-east direction. There is no threat of damage, and it should not be a cause for concern now,” Kamaljeet Ray, director, IMD Ahmedabad, told Hindustan Times.

However, due to the cyclonic effect, south Gujarat would experience moderate to heavy rainfall. Gusts, which were at 70-80 kmph, would slow down to 25 to 30 kmph, the department said. As a precautionary measure, areas expected to receive heavy rainfall have still been placed on alert.

“Cotton and paddy crops, ready for harvesting in Saurashtra, have been saved. No damage was reported from anywhere in the state. The [cyclone] warning has also been withdrawn,” P Panneervel, commissioner (relief), said.

According to Jay Narayan Vyas, Minister for Health and Tourism and state government spokesperson, all boats off the southern coast and 80 per cent of those from Saurashtra had returned.

But the Indian Coast Guard at Daman, which had deployed helicopters to call back people in over 50 boats (from Valsad, Umargam and Daman) stranded off the coast, said nearly 15 boats might still be at sea.