Cyclones Maha, Bulbul LIVE Updates | In a relief for residents of Maharashtra and Gujarat, the severe cyclonic storm 'Maha' is likely to fizzle out into the the Arabian sea by evening today. However, situation does not look positive for Odisha as the latest bulletin by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) predicts that Cyclone Bulbul is set to intensify into a severe cyclonic storm over the Bay of Bengal. Scientists believe that air pollution, caused by human activities, may be strengthening cyclones because air pollution weakens the forces that can otherwise prevent cyclones from forming.
Despite the forecast of Cyclone Maha weakening, the weather is likely to remain affected, causing light to moderate rains in Madhya Maharashtra, Thane and Palghar districts today. In view of the situation, Palghar district administration has ordered closure of educational institutions between November 6 and 8, while the collector of Thane district directed officials on to take a call depending upon situation.
The Navy, meanwhile, said its western command has prepared for humanitarian and disaster relief (HADR) operations along the Gujarat and north Maharashtra coast. 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 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.
Till Wednesday evening, 'Maha' was still a 'severe cyclonic storm' hovering over the east-central Arabian sea, and is located around 400 kms away from coastal Porbandar in Saurashtra region of Gujarat. "It (the cyclonic storm) is very likely to move nearly eastwards, weaken into a cyclonic storm by today (Wednesday) evening. Thereafter it is likely to move east-northeastwards, weaken further into a deep depression by the early morning of November 7," a India Meteorological Department (IMD) release stated.
The earlier prediction that 'Maha' would make a landfall on the Gujarat coast near the Union Territory of Diu on Thursday morning as a cyclonic storm had prompted the authorities to step up preparedness. The IMD further said 'Maha' is "very likely" to skirt the Saurashtra coast.
"It would lay centred about 40 kms south of Diu around noon of November 7 as a deep depression. The system would further weaken into a depression by tomorrow (November 7) evening," it stated. As per the IMD, the (weather) system is weakening gradually in the sea.
"The good part is that it will not hit Gujarat as predicted earlier. It will just skirt the coast of Saurashtra near Diu. It will turn into a depression by tomorrow (Thursday) evening," it stated. However, the weakened 'Maha' will still bring rains in some parts of Gujarat on Thursday.
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani had informed that a total of 30 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were deployed in various parts of the state, mostly in Saurashtra and south Gujarat region, to tackle the impact in the event of 'Maha' making the landfall.
On the other hand, in the eastern state of Odisha, the cyclonic storm formed over the Bay of Bengal is likely to intensify into a severe cyclonic storm over the next 24 hours and set to move towards West Bengal and Bangladesh coasts, skirting Odisha, a senior IMD official said.
Cyclone 'Bulbul', moving at a speed of 7 kmph, was currently centred over east-central Bay of Bengal, about 730 km south-southeast of Paradip in Odisha and 830 km south-southeast of Sagar Islands in West Bengal, according to the director of Bhubaneswar Meteorological Centre, HR Biswas.
As a precautionary measure, the Odisha government has asked all district administrations to closely watch the development of the cyclonic system, as it may trigger heavy rainfall in several areas.
Around 15 of the state's 30 districts had been asked to remain prepared to deal with any possible waterlogging and flood-like situation, a state government official explained. IMD Director General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said the cyclonic system was being monitored to ascertain the exact direction the storm and the possible location of its landfall.
"The cyclone is likely to intensify into a severe cyclonic storm. It is very likely to move north-northwestwards towards West Bengal and Bangladesh coasts," he said, adding that Odisha might be spared of its rage. The prediction has come as a major relief to the people of the state, who are struggling to return to normalcy post Cyclone Fani in May.
According to official reports, more than 64 people lost lives in Cyclone 'Fani' and over five lakh houses were destroyed under its impact. A fortnight ago, six people were killed in Odisha in rain-related incidents.
Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P K Jena said a total of 15 districts, including Ganjam, Gajapati, Nayagarh, Puri, Khurda, Jagatsinghpur, Cuttack and Kendrapara, had been asked to keep their administrative machineries "fully prepared" to tackle any contingency.
Officials have been told to ensure that no fisherman ventured into the sea from November 8 till further notice. Farmers have also been advised to take steps to protect crops and harvested paddy.
Biswas said light to moderate rainfall was likely to lash several places in the north coastal districts of Odisha from November 9 to 11. Sea condition would be very rough in east-central Bay of Bengal till Thursday evening, and might become "phenomenal" thereafter in the adjoining northwest area, he added.