Cyclone Tauktae strucks Gujrat, kills 12 people

NEW DEHLI (May 18, 2021): Powerful tropical cyclone Tauktae struck the Indian state of Gujarat on Monday, May 17, killing at least 12 people while more than 200,000 people were evacuated from their homes.

As Tauktae approached land, maximum sustained winds of 100 knots (185 kilometers/125 miles per hour) and gusts up to 125 knots (230 kilometers/ 145 miles), equivalent to a category 3 or 4 hurricane. That made Tauktae the fifth-strongest storm observed in the Arabian Sea since 1998. Winds of that strength can easily snap trees, topple power lines, and damage homes. The storm also pushed a destructive storm surge of water onto the Indian coast; reports suggest it may have been as high as 3 meters (10 feet) in some areas.

The landfall lasted for roughly two hours, and concluded by 11 pm, it said.

Coastlines of Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, and Gujarat experienced heavy rainfall and strong winds that uprooted several trees, resulting in widespread destruction to property and electricity cuts in these areas.

In the wake of cyclone Tauktae, classified as “extremely severe the Gujarat state shut ports and major airports as the most powerful cyclone in more than two decades made its landfall.

Tauktae landfall in Gujrat – gettyimages

Late on Monday local time, India’s meteorological department announced that the “extremely severe cyclonic storm” had begun to make landfall in Gujarat.

Tauktae is the most powerful cyclone in more than two decades made its landfall.

The cyclone comes amid a second COVID-19 wave that has overwhelmed India’s healthcare system.

Rain intensified and several incidents of power outages were reported in the state. Electricity pylons and trees were uprooted and buildings were damaged in coastal areas of Gujarat, state authorities said.

Even before making landfall, Tauktae caused a trail of destruction in Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, and Maharashtra as it brushed India’s northwest coast over the weekend.

According to news reports, the storm contributed to the deaths of at least 12 people, destroyed hundreds of homes, and caused power outages and traffic jams. More than 150,000 people evacuated Gujarat in anticipation of Tauktae’s arrival.

The North Indian Ocean generates only about 7 percent of the world’s tropical cyclones, but storms can be quite devastating when they occur because of the large number of people who live along low-lying coastlines.