Hours after people in Gujarat took a sigh of relief with Chief Minister Vijay Rupani announcing that Cyclone Vayu is no more a threat to the state, a top Union Ministry of Earth Sciences said that the storm is likely to recurve again and hit the Kutch district on June 17-18. "Cyclone Vayu will again recurve. It is likely to hit the Kutch coast on June 17-18," Ministry of Earth Sciences Secretary M Rajeevan told PTI, adding that the intensity of the cyclone is likely to reduce and it may hit the coast as a cyclonic storm or a deep depression.
Speaking on IMD's latest weather forecast, an official said that the very severe cyclonic storm will also reduce in intensity and turn into a severe cyclonic storm by Saturday morning.
The Cyclone Warning Division, in its 5.30 pm bulletin, said, "The system is moving nearly westwards affecting Porbandar, Devbhoomi Dwarka districts with wind speed 50-60 kilometres per hour gusting to 70 kilometres per hour and Gir Somnath and Junagarh districts with wind speed 30-40 kilometres per hour gusting to 50 kilometres per hour. The wind speed over these districts is very likely to decrease gradually".
"The system is very likely to move nearly westwards during next 48 hours and recurve northeastwards thereafter," it added.
In view of this possible re-curvature of Cyclone Vayu, the Gujarat government was alerted again on Friday while the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams are also directed to be stationed along the coastline for the next 48 hours.
Earlier in the day, following a meeting with officials in Gandhinagar, Chief Minister Rupani said, "Gujarat is now completely safe. There exists no threat from cyclone Vayu now as the storm has veered towards the west in the Arabian Sea".
"Around 2.75 lakh people, who were evacuated from the coastal areas, are free to return to their homes," the chief minister told reporters, adding that the state government would pay a total allowance of around Rs 5.5 crore to the evacuees for daily expenses over the next three days.
"Schools and colleges will start tomorrow. We are also calling back senior officials and ministers, who were deployed in 10 coastal districts to supervise relief and rescue operations. Road transport buses have started playing in these areas today," Rupani added.
Vayu, a powerful storm formed over the Arabian Sea near Lakshadweep islands, was predicted to hit the Gujarat coast on Thursday morning. However, the tropical storm changed its course of direction on the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday and started moving towards Oman.
Though it did not make the expected landfall in Gujarat, moderate-to-heavy rainfall was witnessed in several parts of the western state, including Gir, Somnath, Diu, Junagarh and Porbandar. The highest rainfall of 160 mm was recorded in Talala tehsil of Gir-Somnath district on Thursday.