Cyclone. . Image Source: IANS News

New May 15 : Indian Air Force, Navy and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are making preparations for Cyclone Tauktae, which is expected to cause 'very heavy' to 'extremely heavy' rainfall along the western coast of India in the next few days.

Further, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has suspended all scheduled flights to the Agatti Airport in Lakshadweep due to heavy rain projections till 10 am on Sunday.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has kept 16 transport aircraft and 18 helicopters on operation readiness in peninsular India. "One IL-76 aircraft has airlifted 127 personnel and 11 tonnes of cargo from Bhatinda to Jamnagar," the force said in a statement.

The IAF also stated that a C-130 aircraft has airlifted 25 personnel and 12.3 tonnes cargo from Bhatinda to Rajkot. "Two C-130 aircraft have airlifted 126 personnel and 14 tonnes cargo from Bhubaneswar to Jamnagar," it added.

Additionally, IAF's Covid relief operations have been focused in these coastal areas for the coming few days, as bad weather might to affect air operations later.

"The cyclone relief operations are in addition to those underway for Covid relief," the force added.

The Indian Navy stated that its ships, aircraft, helicopters, and diving and disaster relief teams are on standby for rendering full support to the state administrations as the cyclonic storm Tauktae approaches the western coast of India.

With early warnings of the cyclone for the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, the NDRF has mobilised adequate resources and self-contained rescue and relief teams in the coastal districts of these states which are likely to affected by the cyclonic storm.

The NDRF teams are keeping a close watch on the development of the situation which is being monitored 24x7 from the control room.

A total of 48 NDRF teams have been deployed at the coastal areas likely to be affected by the cyclone after consultation with the state authorities. Thirteen NDRF teams have also been airlifted from Bhubaneshwar and Bhatinda to Gujarat.

Out of all these, 30 teams have been deployed in the coastal districts of Gujarat including 2 teams each at Girsomnath, Amreli, Porbandar, Dwarka, Jamnagar, Rajkot, Kucch, Morbi, Surat, Gandhinagar, and Valsad, and one team each at Bhavnagar, Navsari, Bharuch and Junagarh.

Besides, nine teams have been deployed in the coastal districts of Kerala and five teams in Tamil Nadu.

Moreover, to tackle the situation, four teams have also been deployed in Maharashtra, three in Karnatka and one in Goa.

In the backdrop of the severity of the situation, 20 NDRF teams have been kept on alert as backup plan, to be deployed if requirement arises.

In addition to this, 32 fully-equipped SAR teams have also kept on standby.

In view of the cyclone, as per the technical circular issued on the subject, the senior management of the Airports Authority of India took stock of the preparedness of western coastal airports in the southern and western regions through a video conference at its corporate headquarters in Delhi.

I.N Murthy, Member (Operations), AAI, directed the concerned airports to take all precautions and plan their preparedness.

The operations of scheduled flights at the Agatti Airport in Lakshadweep have been suspended due to heavy rain till 10 am on Sunday. The airport will be made operational as and when the cyclone passes the area.

The AAI senior management is consistently monitoring the situation at the other airports and so far, nothing adverse has been reported and all operations are normal.

Keeping safety in mind and to minimise damage to the airport infrastructure, airports have been advised to plan as per as per the SoP and guidelines. To safeguard the airport infrastructure, precautionary measures as per the pre-cyclone and post-cyclone check-lists are being ensured by the concerned airports.

According to the National Weather Forecasting Centre of the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the cyclonic storm Tauktae over east central and adjoining southeast Arabian Sea moved north-north-westwards with a speed of about 11 kmph during past six hours and lay centred at 8:30 am on May 15, 2021 over east central and adjoining southeast Arabian Sea.

"It is very likely to intensify further in to a severe cyclonic storm during the next six hours and into a very severe cyclonic storm during the subsequent 12 hours. It is very likely to move north-north-westward sand cross Gujarat coast between Porbandar & Naliya around May 18 afternoon/ evening," the IMD stated.

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