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Cyclone Nilofar to weaken before hitting Gujarat coast

As the very severe cyclone ‘Nilofar’ approaches the Gujarat coast it is likely to weaken two levels into a cyclonic storm before landfall for which the date has been revised to November 1 from October 31 on Tuesday.

Under influence of the cyclone many parts of state are likely to receive heavy to very heavy rainfall which could in turn affect the standing crop in the state. Important industrial installations along the coastline like the oil refineries of Reliance Industries Ltd and Essar Oil Ltd in Jamnagar district have also been put on alert by the state administration. The ports across the state including Kandla and Mundra ports have been asked to hoist distant warning II signal for ships coming there.

Meanwhile, seven teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been sent to different districts. Two team have been sent to Bhuj, one to Gandhidham in Kutch district. One team each has been stationed in towns of Porbander, Veraval, Rajkot. Four NDRF teams are kept on standby at Ahmedabad and Vadodara, said NDRF officials.

Jamnagar district collector Nalin Upadhyay has asked the oil refineries off district coastline to remain alert in wake of Nilofar cyclone. “We have issued high alert warning for the industrial installation of Reliance, Essar, GSFC (Gujarat State Fertilizer Corporation) and others that are located along the coastline. We have asked them to take precaution to protect the large structures in their units,” Upadhyay said, adding that the companies have their own mechanism to handle a cyclone.

He further informed that the district administration was ready for any kind of eventuality. “We are ready with our evacuation plans for the people living along the coastline. We are closely watching the progress of the cyclone and will execute the plan if required,” Upadhyay added.

At the Adani Group promoted Mundra Port all precautions have been taken with regard to the approaching cyclone. A top official of the Mundra Port said that they were ready to face any kind of situation.

The Paschim Gujarat Vij Company Ltd (PGVCL), that supplies power to Saurashtra and Kutch region has also geared up for any power cut situation. All godowns in coastal areas have been suppled with necessary material in case of power cuts and the contractors have been asked to remain present at the godown for the next three days, a senior official of PGVCL said.

In the wake of impending cyclone Nilofar, Gujarat government has directed all district administrators especially coastal district to take precautionary measures. “Fishermen (have been) called back, trimming of trees to prevent damage to life & property, farmers informed to shift their produce to covered places,” twitted chief minister Anandiben Patel after reviewing the situation. “While we are preparing for the worst to happen, let us also pray that cyclone Nilofar gets subdued and doesn’t bring serious damage,” she added on the microblogging site.

The state agriculture department has also instructed farmers to move their farm produce to safer places before October 30. “We do not expect much damage to crops as most of the farmers have harvested their crops. There are few areas in central Gujarat were there is a standing cotton crop, but that is unlikely to be affected. Maybe, their quality could suffer if there is rain and strong winds. But we still have to wait till the cyclone strikes to assess the damage to crops,” a senior agriculture department official said. He however added that they have asked all farmers to move their harvest to safe locations at the earliest.

The very severe cyclonic storm, ‘Nilofar’ in Arabian Sea on Tuesday moved north-northwestwards and lay centred about 1,110 km southwest of Naliya (Gujarat), 1,150 km south-southwest of Karachi (Pakistan) and 820 km east-southeast of Salalah (Oman). “It would move north-northwestwards by Wednesday morning and then gradually recurve northeastwards and cross Gujarat coast and adjoining Pakistan coast around Naliya (Kutch) by November 1 forenoon,” the advisory issued today by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said. “However, as the system would come closer to Gujarat coast, it would weaken and cross the coast as a cyclonic storm,” said joint director IMD, Ahmedabad, Manorama Mohanty. But the wind speed is likely to be 100 kmph gusting 110 kmph during landfall, she added.

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