Cyclone Ockhi to make landfall in Gujarat on Tuesday night, heavy rains forecast in Maharashtra too
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Cyclone Ockhi to make landfall in Gujarat on Tuesday night, heavy rains forecast in Maharashtra too

Holiday has been declared in schools, colleges in Mumbai and adjoining districts on Tuesday in view of the cyclone.

india Updated: Dec 04, 2017 23:10 IST
Ramesh Babu & Malavika Vyawahare
Ramesh Babu & Malavika Vyawahare
Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram/New Delhi

A view of a flooded locality following Cyclone Ockhi in Lakshadweep on Sunday. Leaving behind a trail of destruction in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Lakshadweep, cyclone Ockhi is now over the Arabian Sea around 690km south-southwest of Mumbai and 870km south-southwest of Gujarat’s Surat, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Monday. (PTI)

Cyclone Ockhi, which left behind a trail of destruction in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Lakshadweep, is expected to make landfall in Gujarat on Tuesday night which may cause heavy rains in the state and adjoining Maharashtra.

An India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecast said, “The severe cyclonic storm Ockhi is now laid centred about 850 km south-southwest of Surat and is likely to cross south Gujarat and adjoining North Maharashtra coasts near Surat as a deep depression by mid-night of December 5.”

“We have issued heavy rainfall warnings for Gujarat, while light to moderate rain is expected in isolated areas in north Konkan, including Mumbai, on Tuesday,” IMD’s director general KJ Ramesh said.

Schools and colleges in Mumbai and adjoining districts have been asked to remain closed on Tuesday due to “serious weather predictions”, Maharashtra’s school education minister Vinod Tawde said

The impact of the cyclone will be seen in Palghar, Thane, Raigarh, and Greater Mumbai districts of Maharashtra and Valsad, Surat, Navsari, Bharuch, Dang, Tapi, Amreli, Gir- Somnath and Bhavnagar districts of Gujarat.

Union Territories Daman, Diu and Dadra, Nagar Haveli will also be affected.

The scale of the cyclone was reduced from ‘very severe’ on Sunday to ‘severe’, the weather department said.

It has warned fisherman along the Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka coastline not to venture into the sea from Monday to Wednesday.

The high winds and persistent rains hit the southern districts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu last week and caused loss to life and property.

The death toll climbed to 28 in Kerala after a rescue team recovered two more bodies on Monday and officials said at least 90 people were still missing in the state.

The Tamil Nadu government on Monday said a total of 2,604 fishermen out of the 2,864 caught in the cyclone Ockhi have been rescued and search for the remaining 260 is on.

Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Monday that representatives of fishermen will also be included in the ongoing search operation to rescue the missing in Kerala.

The joint operation of the Indian Navy, Indian Air Force and Coast Guard will continue till the last man is saved from the sea, the minister said after visiting the two worst-hit fishing hamlets of Vizhinjam and Poonthura in Thiruvananthapuram district.

“People of the coast are in deep distress. The government will do everything to alleviate their suffering. I will inform the Prime Minister and home minister what I have seen,” she said in Poonthura.

“We have even deployed warships. The rescue operation this time is more intense than the one during the tsunami in 2004. We are committed to saving the last man marooned in the sea,” she said.

Sitharaman later chaired a meeting with Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and reviewed the situation.

Tempers ran high on the coast when Sitharaman arrived and the angry relatives of the missing fishermen took exception to the presence of two state ministers in the team. Sitharaman had a tough time pacifying them.

On Sunday, chief minister Vijayan was heckled by an angry crowd and he had to leave without his official car. The crowd shouted at him, accusing him of not visiting them immediately after the tragedy.

The affected people have said the government did not give them the warning about the cyclone on time and that its response to the situation was delayed. They also blocked roads at several places.

On Sunday, the families of the missing fishermen defied the warning of the met office and government and ventured into to look for them.

A naval ship on Monday located a fishing boat with nine crew members, reportedly missing from Kochi since the last 15 days, off Lakshadweep, a defence spokesperson said.

“All of them are safe. They are coming on their own their boat to Kochi,” he said.

The boat, Island Queen, was located by INS Kolkata 132 nautical miles north of Kavaratti in Lakshadweep, he said. The local administration had requested the navy to search for it, he added.

The spokesperson added that the naval ship continued with them for some time before going for another rescue operation.

Sitharaman, who was in Kanyakumari on Sunday to take stock of the situation in the wake of the cyclonic storm, said 357 fishermen, including 71 from Tamil Nadu, have been rescued so far.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Dec 04, 2017 13:21 IST