Morbi: Heavy rains and gusty winds at a speed of over 115-120 kilometres per hour created havoc in Gujarat's Morbi district, damaging over 300 electric poles, leading to power outage in around 45 villages, after Cyclone Biparjoy made landfall in coastal areas of the state on Thursday evening.
Officials with the Paschim Gujarat Vij Company Limited (PGVCL) said that efforts are underway to restore power in nine of the affected villages.
"Strong winds broke electric wires and poles, causing a power outage in 45 villages of Maliya tehsil. We are restoring power in 9 villages and power has been restored in the remaining villages," PGVCL's executive engineer, Morbi, JC Goswami said.
As per the officials, two power stations in the Maliya Taluka of Morbi have been shut down due to the cyclonic storm. "In the coastal and desert regions, more than 300 electric poles have been damaged," they said.
Earlier on Thursday evening, at least 22 people were injured, while electric poles and trees were uprooted as the 'Biparjoy' cyclone made landfall in Gujarat's coastal areas.
In addition to this, 23 animals have also been killed and heavy rains coupled with gusty winds brought down over 524 trees and electric poles at various places in Gujarat, snapping the supply of power to around 940 villages, the officials said.
Meanwhile, the Relief Commissioner of Gujarat Alok Pandey said that there are chances of flash floods and intermittent rainfall is expected across Gujarat with heavy rainfall.
"The eye of the storm is currently near the Pakistan-Kutch border. The wind had an average speed of 78 kmph. There are chances of power outages. As per IMD's forecast, the storm will reach southern Rajasthan tomorrow".
"People have been alerted in the low-lying areas. There are chances of flash floods. Intermittent rainfall is expected across Gujarat with heavy rainfall near the storm epicentre," he added.
Meanwhile, India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on the wee hours of Friday that cyclone 'Biparjoy' is expected to weaken further by Friday morning and move into a 'depression' in the subsequent evening.
IMD officials said that the 'severe' cyclonic storm Biparjoy lay centred over the Saurashtra-Kutch region and is expected to move northeastwards, adding that heavy rains are expected in Rajasthan on Friday.
"The severe cyclonic storm Biparjoy lay centred over the Saurashtra-Kutch region, 30 km north of Naliya as of 0230 IST today," IMD said in a tweet."It is expected to move northeastwards and weaken into a Cyclonic Storm by early morning on June 16, and into a depression by the same evening over south Rajasthan," it said.
IMD Director Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said that the cyclone has now moved from sea to land and is centred towards Sauarashtra-Kutch.
"Cyclone Biporjoy moved northeastwards and crossed the Saurashtra-Kutch adjoining Pakistan coast close to the Jakhau port, Gujarat. The cyclone has now moved from sea to land and is centred towards Saurashtra-Kutch," Mohapatra said.
He added, "The intensity of the cyclone has reduced to 105-115 kmph. The category has changed from very severe cyclonic storm (VSCS) to severe cyclonic storm (SCS). There may be heavy rains in Rajasthan on June 16 (Friday)".
The intensity of Cyclone Biparjoy reduced from the 'very severe' to 'severe' category on the intervening night of Thursday and Friday after the storm made landfall in coastal areas of Gujarat.
Cyclone Biparjoy, which had been brewing over the Arabian Sea for several days, made landfall on Gujarat's coastal area and also affected the train services. Due to this, around 99 trains running through, originating or terminating in Biparjoy-affected areas of Gujarat, were cancelled or short-terminated, Western Railway said.
Officials said that several relief and rescue teams are on alert as tens of thousands of people were evacuated to safe locations in Gujarat.
Meanwhile, Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel chaired a review meeting at the State Emergency Operation Center in Gandhinagar on Thursday morning.
Earlier on Wednesday, the IMD issued a Red alert for the Saurashtra and Kutch coasts, saying that VSCS (Very Severe Cyclonic Storm) 'Biparjoy' will cross Saurashtra and Kutch and adjoining Pakistan coasts, between Mandvi and Karachi near Jakhau Port, by Thursday evening.
Warnings about extensive damage to temporary housing structures and falling of trees and branches due to high-speed winds, high tides and heavy rainfall have already been issued by India Meteorological Department. (ANI)