Cyclone Vayu set to strike Gujarat, prompting evacuation of 300,000 people

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Based on the India Meteorological Department's (IMD) advice, Great Danger 8 (GD-8) signal has been hoisted at Porbandar and Okha ports, while GD-9 signal has been hoisted at Diu, Veraval, Navlakhi, New-Kandla, Sikka, Mundra, Madvi and Jakhau ports. Winds could strengthen to as high as 165 km/h with stronger gusts, potentially making the cyclone the equivalent strength of a Category 2 hurricane, experts said.

In the wake of Cyclone Vayu, flight services to some 5 airports in Gujarat will be suspended from midnight on Wednesday.

"But in case the course changes or intensifies, the refinery is ready for any contingency", he added, declining to be identified as he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The cyclone over the East-Central Arabian Sea was located around 300 km south of Veraval in Gujarat, moving at a speed of 18 km per hour.

As Cyclone Vayu advances towards the Gujarat coast and is expected to make landfall Thursday afternoon, the state government has shifted around three lakh people from low-lying areas of Saurashtra and Kutch regions, officials said Wednesday.

The NDRF or National Disaster Response Force has mobilised 35 teams in Gujarat & 4 teams in Diu in coordination with the local administration.

Waves crash against the jetty at a fishing harbour ahead of the expected Cyclone Vayu at Veraval in Gujarat.

The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has also deployed ships and aircraft to enable search and rescue post the landfall of the cyclonic storm. He also appealed to tourists to be careful and take shelter in safe places ahead of the cyclone.

Academic institutions closed The Union Home Ministry on Tuesday issued detailed advisories to Gujarat and the Union Territory of Diu, requesting them to take all precautionary measures to ensure that no human life is lost. Medical teams and facilities at Indian Naval hospital in Mumbai are on standby to handle medical emergencies.

Indian authorities are evacuating almost 300,000 people on the west coast ahead of Cyclone Vayu.

The weather experts ruled out any repeat of the conditions of June 2015 when a similar low pressure area had resulted into killing hundreds of people in Karachi and other parts of Sindh.

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