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Cyclone Vayu spares Gujarat, changes course towards Oman

Ahmedabad: Sparing Gujarat after changing course, Cyclone Vayu Thursday began moving away from the state coast towards Oman, even as the danger of heavy winds and rain in coastal areas continued, officials said here.

Though the ‘eye of the storm’ is away from land, the cyclone’s outer periphery would leave its impact on the coast, officials said.

State authorities have already evacuated three lakh people from low-lying areas near the coast to safer places.

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said, “According to IMD bulletin, Cyclone Vayu, which was going to hit Gujarat, has moved towards Oman. But the administration will continue to be on high alert for the next 24 hours.”

Schools in coastal districts of Saurashtra and Kutch will remain closed Friday as a precaution, the Chief Minister said.

Rupani, who reviewed the situation late Thursday evening, said the cyclone “no longer poses any danger” but the administration in the coastal region will remain on alert.

“The IMD said the cyclone no longer poses any danger as it (has) moved towards Oman without making a landfall in the coastal belt,” Rupani told reporters in Gandhinagar.

“The cyclone is very likely to move north-northwestwards for some time and then northwestwards skirting the Saurashtra coast affecting Gir Somnath, Diu, Junagarh, Porbandar and Devbhoomi Dwarka with wind speed 90- 100 kmph gusting to 110 kmph during next 12 hours,” the IMD said in a release issued late Thursday evening.

“Though Vayu started skirting from the mainland, the danger is still there in the form of heavy rains or blowing of strong winds. We are not declaring as of now that there is no danger. All our measures will remain in place till tomorrow morning. We are not taking any chances,” said Gujarat Chief Secretary, J N Singh.

A dozen talukas in the coastal belt received more than one inch of rain since Thursday morning due to the cyclone, an official release by the Gujarat government said.

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