The severity of Cyclone Vayu remains a threat for Gujarat's coastal areas even though it has changed course and is unlikely to make landfall in the state on Thursday, an IMD official said. "The threat of surge in wind, dust storm and rainfall stays very much. The centre of the storm -- known as the eye -- has slightly moved away from the Gujarat coast, but its diameter is well over 900 km," the official said.
Earlier, the cyclone was moving straight towards the Gujarat coast, but is has now slightly moved away, the the India Meteorological Department (IMD) official said. "But going by its extension, there is no relief from the high alert sounded for the Gujarat coast. The cyclonic storm is going to hit Porbandar in Gujarat and other parts till Kutch area," he said.
The IMD will issue further updates about the cyclone by afternoon, the official added. While heading towards Gujarat earlier, the cyclonic storm had brought some good spell of rain to Mumbai and neighbouring Raigad, Thane and Palghar districts of Maharashtra.
Precautionary measures have been taken by the Gujarat government and over three lakh people living in low-lying areas and thatched houses in the coastal districts have been evacuated, an official said.
Fishermen have also been warned not to venture into the sea as it has turned rough. The coast guard, army, navy, air force and the Border Security Force have been put on high alert. Around 52 teams of the National Disaster Response Force and 11 columns (each having around 70 personnel) of the army have been deployed in the coastal districts of Gujarat.
Besides, 24 army columns have been kept reserved for any emergency situation.