Cyclone Ockhi, which is heading towards Gujarat and Maharashtra after wreaking havoc in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Lakshwadeep, has so far killed 39 people. Authorities rescued hundreds of fishermen from the seas in the past few days but according to latest reports, about 167 fishermen are still missing.
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) asked fishermen in both eastern and western coasts not to venture out in the sea for the next three days.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is said to be monitoring the situation.
“Spoke to all relevant authorities and officials. All possible assistance is being provided to those affected,” PM Modi tweeted.
The ‘severe’ cyclonic storm Ockhi is expected to move over east- central Arabian sea and move further north-northeastwards with a speed of 21 kmph and lay centred over east-central Arabian sea, about 480 km southwest of Surat and 300 km west-southwest of Mumbai.
The cyclonic storm passed the Mumbai coast bringing heavy rain and hail to Mumbai and its suburbs.
The NDMA said light to moderate rainfall is expected at most places in Maharashtra with isolated heavy rainfall also likely over north Konkan, Palghar, Thane, Raigarh, Greater Mumbai, Dhule, Nandurbar, Nashik, Jalgaon, Ahmednagar and Pune districts.
It is very likely that the cyclone will to continue to move north-northeastwards, weaken gradually and cross south Gujarat and adjoining north Maharashtra coasts near Surat as a deep depression by tonight.
The NDMA also said people when asked to evacuate, should move to a designate cyclone shelter with safety kit and store dry food and water in abundance, keep torch and hurricane lantern/emergency light handy and keep listening to battery operated radio for latest information.
Joint Secretary in the Home Ministry Sanjeev Kumar Jindal also said the cyclone is slowing down and would have no impact in Gujarat, where the first of the two-phased assembly elections is due four days.
But on Tuesday, the storm played spoilsport as several scheduled election rallies in the state were cancelled.
(With inputs from agencies)