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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

8,000 evacuated as Phet likely to hit Guj on Friday

Ahmedabad/Pune: Alarm bells rang throughout Gujarat, as cyclone Phet intensified to a very severe cyclonic storm causing strong winds, thunderstorm and rainfall across the state in a dramatic switch from the sweltering heat on Wednesday. Phet could possibly hit Gujarat coast on Friday, the weatherman warned.
   Over 8,000 people were evacuated from Kandla and Tuna in Kutch district in view of the advancing cyclone. Three fire brigade teams with rescue vehicles were dispatched to Junagadh, Porbandar and Jamnagar for any eventuality. One person, Sabbir Pateliya (35) drowned in the sea off Jamnagar coast. Power cuts were reported from parts of Saurashtra.
   Weather officials said while warnings have been issued, a cyclone alert which is issued 48 hours before its likelihood, might be issued later. Met officials, tracking the cyclone, said the system which is lying 1,060 km southwest of Naliya in Kutch, 1,100 km southwest of Karachi, Pakistan, and 600 km south-southeast of Sur, Oman, has intensified into a very severe cyclone. While the warning for fishermen was maintained for another 48 hours, a Distant Port Warning (No 2 level) was issued all along Gujarat's 1,600km long coastline.
   "The system is predicted to intensify further and head in a north-northwesterly /northerly direction close to Oman coast and then recurve northeastwards towards Pakistan and adjoining Gujarat coast, skirting Oman coast. The cyclone is expected to hit the coast between Pakistan and Gujarat on or after June 4,'' said Gujarat-based India Meteorological Department director Kamaljit Ray.
   On Tuesday, 25-35 kmph speed winds blew over parts of the state. All of Gujarat experienced light to heavy rainfall. The cyclonic storm, meanwhile, has led to uncertainty over the southwest monsoon's progress in the country. "Cyclone Phet has made it difficult for us to predict the exact date of the arrival of the monsoon in different parts of the country. This uncertainty will remain for three or four days,'' IMD's Pune-based director Medha Khole told TOI.

WEATHER WOES: Advancing cyclone has put Gujarat on high alert

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