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Cyclonic storm 'Maha' moving towards Gujarat coast; IAF, Navy, NDRF teams on alert

Cyclone Maha is expected to make landfall on the Gujarat coast between Devbhumi-Dwarka district and Union Territory of Diu in the early hours of Thursday. 

Cyclonic storm 'Maha' moving towards Gujarat coast; IAF, Navy, NDRF teams on alert

MUMBAI: The India Meteorological Department has said that severe cyclonic storm Maha is very likely to move east-northeastwards with rapid weakening and triggering rainfall in parts of Maharashtra and Goa before making landfall in Gujarat. 

''It is very likely to cross Gujarat coast around Diu as a cyclonic storm with a maximum sustained wind speed of 70-80 kmph gusting to 90 kmph around noon of 7th November,'' the weather office said.

The IMD further informed that very severe cyclonic storm Maha over east-central and adjoining west-central Arabian Sea moved eastwards with a speed of 21 kmph during past 6 hours and lay centred at 0230 hours IST today, over east-central and adjoining west-central Arabian Sea.

According to the weather officials, Cyclone Maha is expected to make landfall on the Gujarat coast between Devbhumi-Dwarka district and Union Territory of Diu in the early hours of Thursday. 

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In view of the IMD warning, schools and colleges in coastal Palghar district of Maharashtra have been closed till November 8. Fishermen in these areas have also been asked not to venture into the sea.

Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has deployed several teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) in Gujarat's Jamnagar in wake of IMD alert about the cyclonic storm Maha.

Around 140 NDRF personnel have been deployed and nearly eight tonnes of relief material has been put in place.

About 100 more personnel are being sent to Ahmedabad to further spread the rescue and relief operations in the state.

A total of 35 teams have been deployed in Gujarat and the Diu district of Union territory Daman and Diu, the NDRF said in a tweet.

The western command of the Indian Navy has also stepped up preparations for humanitarian and disaster relief (HADR) operations along the Gujarat and north Maharashtra coast in view of the Cyclone Maha.

According to reports, at least four warships of the Western Naval Command have been loaded with HADR materials like food packets, water, medical supplies and other essential commodities.

Naval units of the Gujarat Naval Area are ready with emergency response teams equipped with underwater diving equipment and inflatable boats. Additionally, naval aircraft and helicopters are also on standby, it said.

Naval authorities in Gujarat are in constant liaison with civil authorities to ensure seamless coordination, it added.