Cyclone Tauktae: Barges with 410 on board adrift near Mumbai
Two barges with 410 persons on board have gone adrift off the Mumbai coast as the cyclonic storm 'Tauktae' over the Arabian Sea intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm. The storm is expected to reach the Gujarat coast on Monday evening, officials said. A red alert has been sounded in the adjoining Raigad district and an orange alert has been declared in Mumbai.
Several ships have been readied for assistance and relief
"On receipt of a request for assistance for Barge 'P305' adrift off Heera Oil Fields in Bombay High area with 273 personnel onboard, warship INS Kochi was sailed with a despatch for Search and Rescue assistance," a Navy spokesperson said. The oil fields are around 70 km southwest of Mumbai. "Several ships have been readied for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief tasking," he said.
Mumbai Airport shut for several hours
"In response to another SOS received from Barge 'GAL Constructor' with 137 people onboard about eight nautical miles from Mumbai, warship INS Kolkata has been sailed with despatch to render assistance," the spokesperson said. As the cyclone raged past the Maharashtra coast and inched closer to Mumbai Monday morning, operations at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport were suspended.
Cyclone Tauktae is hurtling toward Gujarat
Monorail services in Mumbai have been suspended for the day. Local train services of the Central Railway were disrupted between suburban Ghatkopar and Vikhroli. Gale-force winds, heavy rainfall, and high tidal waves swept the coastal belts of Maharashtra and Goa as Cyclone Tauktae hurtled northwards toward Gujarat. The cyclonic storm will intensify further and reach the Gujarat coast by Monday evening, the IMD said.
Tauktae will cross Gujarat coast between 8 pm-11 pm
Over one lakh people have been shifted from low-lying coastal areas in Gujarat, while 54 teams of the NDRF and SDRF remained deployed. Tauktae will cross the Gujarat coast between 8 pm and 11 pm, the IMD said. Meanwhile, at least 17 COVID-19 patients on ventilator support in the Porbandar Civil Hospital's ICU were shifted to other facilities as a precautionary measure.
Mumbaikars are enjoying the change in weather
On Monday, Mumbaikars woke up to gusty winds and heavy showers due to the cyclone. Many Mumbaikars are enjoying the change in weather amid the coronavirus pandemic. One Twitter user posted the iconic scene of Ajay Devgn's Phool Aur Kaante where he can be seen balancing on two bikes. The user captioned it, "Mumbaikers trying to handle #CycloneTauktae and Corona at the same time."