Cyclone Tauktae is likely to intensify into a “severe cyclonic storm” within six hours, and may hit the Gujarat coast by Tuesday, the weather office has warned. Over the next 12 hours, Cyclone Tauktae is likely to intensify further into a “very severe cyclonic storm” and is expected to cross the Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Naliya on Tuesday afternoon. 

This is the first cyclonic storm this year as India fights a deadly second wave of COVID-19, which has led to a surge in the country’s caseload and death count. But have you ever wondered how these cyclones are named? There is a history and a process.

For starters, let’s take a look at Cyclone Tauktae. Its name was suggested by Myanmar. It’s a Burmese word meaning gecko, a “highly vocal lizard”.

The naming of the cyclones is done by the World Meteorological Organisation/United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (WMO/ESCAP) Panel on Tropical Cyclones (PTC). The panel includes 13 countries – India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Maldives, Oman, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. These 13 countries name the cyclones in the region.

In 2018, the WMO/ESCAP expanded the list to include five more countries. Last year, a new list was released that has 169 names of cyclones, a compilation of 13 suggestions each from 13 countries.

Cyclone Tauktae Expected To Hit Gujarat In Evening, Mumbai Airport Shuts, Few Highlights –

Around 25,000 people have been evacuated from low-lying areas between Porbandar and Mahuva in Bhavnagar. Overall more than 1.5 lakh have been shifted from low-lying areas in the state. Officials are bracing for very heavy rainfall and winds of up to 190 km per hour. Warnings are also in place in Junagarh, Gir Somnath and Amreli.

Massive damage is expected in Porbandar, Amreli, Junagarh, Gir Somnath, Botad and coastal areas of Ahmedabad, including destruction of thatched houses. Officials have warned of damage to power and communication lines. Flooding of roads and disruption to railway lines and signaling systems is expected, as well as to salt pans and crops.

Mumbai experienced light rainfall and gusty winds early Monday. The airport has been shut till 2 pm. The city’s Bandra-Worli sea link has been closed. Five temporary shelters have been set up in each of the city’s 24 wards. Three NDRF teams are on alert. Moderate to intense spells of rain in the city as well as Thane, Raigad, Palghar and Ratnagiri districts, are likely in the next few hours.

On Monday morning news agency ANI said nearly 7,000 fishing boats – around 2,200 from Gujarat and 4,500 from Maharashtra had been safely returned to their harbours. In addition over 300 merchant ships have been alerted or re-routed and oil rig operators in the area have been warned.

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, who has urged people to stay indoors as far as possible, has also asked officials to ensure electricity supply to COVID-19 hospitals and other medical facilities. Gujarat is among the states worst hit by the second Covid wave; it has over 1.11 lakh active cases.

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