Winds, rain batter western India as cyclone veers away

  • News Digest

Jun 14, 2019-

AHMEDABAD (India): High winds and heavy rains pounded western India on Thursday as a major cyclone expected to hit the coast veered away instead into the Arabian Sea.

Vayu, classified as a very severe cyclonic storm, moved north-northwestwards in the night over the Arabian Sea, and was around 110 kilometres (70 miles) from the coast of Gujarat state.

It was “very likely” to keep moving in the same direction, but still skirt the coast, packing winds of 135-145 kilometres (84-90 miles) per hour and gusts of 160 kilometres (100 miles) per hour, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

“The threat of surge in wind, dust storm and rainfall remains very much. The centre of the storm  known as the eye  has slightly moved away from the Gujarat coast, but its diameter is well over 900 kilometres (560 miles),” an IMD official told local media.Heavy rains are likely to continue until Saturday, Gujarat IMD chief Jayanta Sarkar told AFP.

On Wednesday, forecasters had been bracing for the system to hit Gujarat with full force winds equivalent to a category one or two hurricane.

Authorities in Gujarat evacuated more than 285,000 people as a precaution. Schools have been closed, with officials fearing major damage to houses, crops, power lines and communications. Five people have been killed by lightning in Gujarat, mostly farmers and labourers working in fields, authorities said.

Published: 14-06-2019 10:19

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