As the system inched closer to the state, two more deaths were reported in the state, taking casualties due to stormy weather ahead of Biparjoy’s landfall to five.
The India Meteorological Department said, in line with the forecast, the cyclone weakened from an “extremely severe cyclonic storm” to a “very severe cyclonic storm” over northeastern Arabian Sea but will have “extensive damage potential” on entering the state. IMD chief Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said the cyclone could lead to extremely heavy rainfall (over 20 cm) at isolated places in Kutch, Devbhumi Dwarka, Jamnagar and Porbandar.
‘Biparjoy’ turns into extremely severe cyclonic storm
IMD: Damage potential of cyclone could be extensive
Among two fresh deaths in Gujarat due to stormy weather ahead of cyclone Biparjoy’s expected landfall, a woman from MP, Ramkanya Bannosingh, died on the spot while another person was injured when a spray drying chimney in a ceramic factory near Belgam of Morbi fell. In another incident, a 35-year-old identified as Naran Lodhar died after he was crushed under a dilapidated building that collapsed in Porbandar.
Among the evacuees, a majority of around 14,088 were in Kutch, followed by 5,000 in Devbhumi Dwarka, 4,000 in Rajkot, 2,000 in Morbi, over 1,500 in Jamnagar, 550 in Porbandar and 500 in Junagadh district, said Alok Kumar Pandey, state relief commissioner. These include some 284 pregnant women.
Kutch administration officials said considering the situation, 7,278 more people living in the radius of 5 to 10 km seashore will be shifted on Wednesday. The evacuation started on June 12 in 120 villages of seven talukas.
Cyclone Biparjoy may cause extensive damage; Gujarat’s Kutch, Jamnagar likely to be most impacted: IMD
To put Biparjoy’s landfall wind speeds of 125-135kmph in perspective, the 1998 Kandla cyclone had hit at a speed of 165 kmph, leaving the entire port town flattened and at least 10,000 dead.
IMD chief Mrutyunjay Mohapatra warned of the threat of flooding. “We won’t be surprised if these areas record more than 25cm of rainfall. Usually, this region does not receive such intense precipitation at this time of the year. Therefore, there is a risk of flooding in the low-lying areas,” he said.
The cyclone is expected to make landfall as a “very severe cyclonic storm”. “The damage potential could be extensive… Tidal waves reaching heights of up to six metres could inundate low-lying coastal areas of Saurashtra and Kutch,” said Mohapatra. The IMD has also recommended close monitoring in the Gir National Park and other famous places such as the Somnath temple.