The India Meteorological Department today said that Cyclone Vayu is now at 280km south-southwest of Mumbai. Mumbai and some neighbouring coastal areas of Maharashtra witnessed a windy Wednesday morning as cyclone 'Vayu' turned into a "very severe cyclonic storm".
As Cyclone Vayu is slowly getting closer, people are panicking and rumours are being spread through social media. Warning people against rumours, the disaster management unit of Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai said, "We request you to not believe in any rumours and dial 1916 when in doubt." Disaster Management Department (MCGM) tweeted, "There will also be a cyclone of rumours today & rest of the days during monsoon. We request you to not believe in any rumours & #Dial1916 when in doubt or tweet. We will be happy to clear the air."
Even the Mumbai Police warned people regarding Cyclone Vayu. The Mumbai Police also appealed to people not to "venture into sea" and keep a safe distance from the shoreline. Sanjay Barve, the Commissioner of Mumbai Police, tweeted saying, "In view of #CycloneVayu heading towards Gujarat coast, Mumbai is likely to experience very windy conditions from afternoon. Citizens shud not venture into sea & should keep safe distance from shore-line. Parking under weak/old trees be avoided. Take care Mumbai."
"Cyclone Vayu has turned into a very severe cyclonic storm. It would cause gusty winds to blow at a speed of 145 kmph to 170 kmph by Thursday morning," the IMD said, reported PTI. Teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) started landing in Gujarat with the help of the Indian Air Force to undertake preventive evacuation of people living on the west coast, an IAF official said. Because of the cyclonic storm, the Arabian Sea has turned turbulent and bigger waves are advancing towards coastal areas, the IMD told PTI. Huge sea waves lashed Devbaug village in Malvan tehsil of Maharashtra's Sindhudurg district on Wednesday.
In the afternoon hours of Wednesday, Cyclone Vayu is expected to move west of Mumbai, around 260 kilometres away from the coast, according to Skymet. However, the movement of the storm is likely to increase the intensity of the rain and bring winds packing with a speed of up to 60 kmph.
In the meanwhile, with Cyclone Vayu inching closer, the Gujarat government launched a massive evacuation exercise to shift about three lakh people from low-lying areas of Saurashtra and Kutch regions.