UPDATED: Cyclone weakening, but moving towards Sindh, Indian Gujrat coasts

KARACHI: Pakistan Meteorological Department said on Thursday that Very severe tropical cyclone Nilofar in Arabian Sea is weakening gradually and it has been converted into a severe tropical cyclone, located at Lat 19.8°N and long 64.2° E about 650 km in southwest of Karachi and 610 km southeast of Gawadar.

The cyclone would continue to move north-eastward (towards adjoining coastal areas of Lower Sindh and Indian Gujrat) with a speed of 14 km/hour in next 24 hours. At present, the estimated central pressure of cyclone is 994 hpa and the average sustained wind speed around is 70-80 knots gusting up to 90 knots.

The cyclone is likely to cross the adjoining coastal areas of lower Sindh and Indian Gujrat as a depression with a wind speed of 70-80 km/hour gusting up to 90 km/hour on Friday evening or night.

“Under the influences of this cyclone, widespread rain or thundershowers with isolated heavy falls accompanied by strong gusty winds are expected in lower Sindh and adjoining coastal areas of Balochistan from today (evening) till Saturday. The sea conditions along Pakistan coast are likely to remain rough to very rough from today evening till Saturday and the fishermen of Sindh and Balochistan are advised to keep their activities suspended up till Saturday,” Pakistan Meteorological Department concluded.

Meanwhile, the Sindh government has said that people living in the villages along the coast and on the islands such as Baba Bhit, Ibrahim Hyderi, Rehri, Mubarak Goth, Hawksbay have been provided shelter in government buildings. We have made arrangements of their accommodation and food free of cost.

According to international media, the Kutch district administration has started a massive evacuation operations along Kutch’s 127 coastal villages on Thursday in wake of Cyclone Nilofar.

According to Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority (GSDMA), the evacuation teams have been dispatched to coastal villages which are vulnerable to Cyclone Nilofar and people from these villages are being shifted to safer locations in nearby areas.

Over 31000 people will be evacuated on Thursday to safer locations. We have identified 139 safer locations where evacuated people will be shifted and food packets and other materials are ready to provide to the affected people” said an official.

“Light to moderate rains will occur in Kutch and Saurashtra on Thursday while heavy and very heavy rains will occur at isolated places in this region on Saturday and Sunday,” said an official from the weather department.

The Sindh government, in the wake of looming large dangers of severe tropical cyclone Nilofar, has declared emergency in five districts, Karachi, Thatta, Sujawal, Badin and Tharparkar and announced holidays for public and private schools from Friday.

The cyclone is expected to be followed by heavy rains and gusty winds which could root out trees, electricity polls or bill boards.

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