Ockhi weakens further, looses cyclone status, turns in to deep depression , now likely to reach Gujarat tomorrow


Cyclone Ockhi has weakened further and turned in to a deep depression and its speed has also slowed down giving rise to the possibility of its crossing from Gujarat tomorrow as a deep or normal depression with much lower wind speed than expected.

According to IMD it was situated at a distance of 310 km south south west of Surat coast at 1800 hrs this evening and was advancing at a speed of 15 kmph as a deep depression. So technically it was no more a cyclonic storm.

It was anticipated earlier that it will convert in to a ‘deep or normal depression’ before its likely landfall somewhere at South Gujarat coast but the state machinery was put on alert as a precautionary measure with deployment of around half a dozen teams of NDRF and some of SDRF in five coastal districts and putting Army, Navy, Air Force, BSF and state police in state of high preparedness.

Director of IMD center Ahmedabad Jayanta Sarkar said that till this afternoon Ockhi was situated at 350 South South West of Surat coast and moving towards Gujarat at a speed of 21 km per hour.

Earlier it had turned in to a cyclonic storm from a extremely severe storm. By the time it would make a landfall at Gujarat coast it would be a deep depression or merely a depression with a wind speed of 60 to 65 kmph or even less. It is likely to reach Gujarat and cross it in much weaker state.

Meanwhile under the impact of approaching Ockhi 88 talukas have witnessed rainfall with Dharampur in Valsad topping the table. Heavy rainfall in coastal districts of Surat, Valsad, Navsari, Bhavnagar, Bharuch, Amreli are predicted tonight but likely to be just one day affair..

Meanwhile CM Vijay Rupani reached Surat and held review meeting there. CS J N Singh also accompanied him there. Later talking to newsmen he said that PM Narendra Modi was also keeping a close watch on the situation. He said that almost all the boats which had sailed in the sea from Gujarat coast have come back. As Ockhi was likely to make a landfall near Surat he was there during the crucial time and the whole system would remain alert tonight.

Earlier CS J N Singh had held a meeting in the SEOC in capital Gandhinagar after which Principal Secretary Pankaj Kumar said that a total of 6 NDRF teams have been deployed in five coastal districts of which two were in Surat and one each in Valsad, Navsaari, Bhavnagar and Amreli. He said that police has been deployed in all the 145 coastal villages of Surat. Several evacuation measures have been readied to be used in case of need. 13000 boats have returned safely to the coasts and a few remaining were also coming back. 13 lakh SMS alerts have been sent in Suart alone. Seven thousand people have been shifted in Bharuch. Army, Navy, Air force, BSF, Coastguard, Police and SDRF were all in the state of preparedness. The storm however was loosing intensity as it was nearing Gujarat coast.

Meanwhile all the nine to and fro flight from Surat Airport have reportedly been canceled in the wake of the inclement weather. Schools in Surat and several other places in the coastal areas have also been shut.

Instruction has been issued to 11 major Oil, Gas and Chemical companies situated in coastal belt of Surat district including the public sector ONGC at Hazira to take special precaution to ensure maximum safety for non-leakage of gas owing to the storm. Collector Surat Mahendra Patel today said that these companies have been asked to take measures to ensure that any kind of gas leak did not take place or incident of fire did not happen.

‘We have not asked them to close operations but the off shore operations including that of ONGC would certainly be closed as precautionary measure,’ he said. Though It was not possible for many of them which work 24×7 to shut down the operation completely yet all the safety measures were being taken by them, he added. The collector said that survey has been conducted in the coastal areas and though no shifting of residents have taken place yet preparedness for the same in case of need was there.

Meanwhile control rooms have been made in all the coastal districts and talukas and the central government was also in touch with the state machinery. Gujarat Maritime board has suspended the Ghogha Dahej Ro Ro ferry as well as the ferry service between Okha and bet Dwarka temporarily.

Owing to inclement weather the election rallies of Amit Shah, Rahul Gandhi, Vasundra Raje Scindia, Yogi Adiyanath, Rajbabbar, Praful Patel, Purushottam Rupala were cancelled today owing to the inclement weather while that of PM Narendra Modi slated for tomorrow in Limbayat of Surat was also cancelled. Rahul’s three day Gujarat trip also ended soon after his commencement and he returned to Delhi this afternoon.


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