AHMEDABAD: Cyclone Ockhi is now moving towards the coasts of Gujarat and Maharashtra said the Indian Meteorological Department while issuing a “very severe cyclonic storm” warning and advising fishermen not to venture into the sea.
“Sea condition would be rough to very rough along & off north Maharashtra and South Gujarat coasts from 4th night to 6th December 2017 morning,” said the IMD.
Both the states are on high alert and have asked fishermen to avoid the sea.
The deadly cyclone, which lashed the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Lakshadweep islands, has claimed at least 18 lives so far.
Over 690 people, including 357 fishermen, have been rescued in joint operations by the Navy, Coast Guard and Air Force, said Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman who reached Kanyakumari on Sunday to take stock of the situation in the wake of the cyclonic storm.
At least 19 people have lost their lives to the cyclone while 96 still missing.
"Indian Navy, Coast Guard and Air Force are still engaged in rescue operations to save the lives of fishermen affected by Cyclone Ockhi."
"Information has also been passed to international safety network and foreign ships to help rescue our fishermen. Meanwhile, 68 boats have reached Maharashtra coast out of which two boats were from Tamil Nadu and others from Kerala," she said.
Environment and climate change minister took to Twitter to update about the cyclone:
"Cyclonic storm ‘OCKHI’ now 390 km WNW of Amini Divi, 910 km SSW of Mumbai &1120 km SSW of Surat. Likely to recurve NEwards next 48 hrs & weaken gradually. Sea would be very rough along north Maharashtra and South Gujarat coasts & Fishermen advised not to go to Sea from 4 Dec" pic.twitter.com/e2cEVYxpmx
— Dr. Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan) December 3, 2017
The meteorological department has issued heavy rainfall warning at isolated places across south Gujarat on Tuesday, December 5 and forecasted a fresh spell of rainfall in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
The department is however hopeful that the deadly cyclone will slowly start to weaken.
“It (Cyclone Ockhi) is very likely to weaken gradually and move north-northwestwards for some time and then recurve northeastwards towards south Gujarat coast,” it said.
The Centre on Sunday said that Cyclone Ockhi is not a national calamity, but all necessary assistance is being provided to tackle the situation.