Cyclone Vayu approaches India

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8:07 a.m. ET, June 13, 2019

The numbers behind Tropical Cyclone Vayu

Tropical Cyclone Vayu is barreling toward the northwest coast of India and is expected to pass close to the Gujarat coast on Thursday.

While it's not forecast to make landfall, it remains a threat to the coast.

Here's a look at the numbers behind the storm:

  • About 6 million people could be impacted by Tropical Cyclone Vayu, which is expected to pass today near the Indian state of Gujarat.
  • Nearly 300,000 people in northwest India have been evacuated.
  • The storm this morning had sustained winds of 83 to 90 mph, with gusts of almost 100 mph.
  • Officials are concerned about Vayu's possible storm surge — possibly as high as 6.5 feet.
4:28 a.m. ET, June 13, 2019

Gujarat residents urged to stay away from the coast

Indian fishermen try to save a boat from being washed out to sea on the outskirts of Veraval on June 13, 2019.
Indian fishermen try to save a boat from being washed out to sea on the outskirts of Veraval on June 13, 2019. SAM PANTHAKY/AFP/Getty Images

Gujarat's state's Additional Chief Secretary, Pankaj Kumar, has appealed to those in the path of Tropical Cyclone Vayu to remain in a safe place and not to venture to coastal areas.

"Each and every life is valuable for us," Kumar said at a press conference on Thursday.

He said that people who are staying in evacuation shelters will stay there for now. "We have been providing adequate food, water and medical facilities for the evacuees," Kumar said.

So far, Kumar said there has "not been a single casualty" in the state because of the cyclone.

What to expect: Tropical Cyclone Vayu is not expected to make landfall but it is passing close to the coast, bringing strong gusts of wind, heavy rain and storm surges. Winds of 135 to 145 kilometers per hour (83-90 mph) are expected with gusts of up to 160 kilometers per hour (99 mph).

2:57 a.m. ET, June 13, 2019

India's national disaster body warns of storm surges

India's National Disaster Management Authority is warning that a storm surge of 1.5 to 2 meters (5 - 6.5 feet) is likely to inundate low lying areas in Gujarat's Devbhumi Dwarka district, Porbandar, Junagarh, Diu and Gir Somnath district.

It also warned fishermen "not to venture into the north Arabian Sea and along and off the Gujarat coast and into the east-central Arabian Sea and along and off Maharashtra" due to rough sea conditions.

2:30 a.m. ET, June 13, 2019

National Disaster Response Force deployed

India's National Disaster Response Force says it has deployed 52 teams to deal with the impact of Tropical Cyclone Vayu.

On Wednesday, teams helped to evacuate almost 300,000 people from low lying areas in Gujarat.

Vayu, classified as a "very severe cyclonic storm," is not expected to make landfall but it will pass close to the coast, bringing strong gusts of wind, heavy rain and storm surges.

1:59 a.m. ET, June 13, 2019

Coast Guard says boats are safe in Porbander

From CNN's Sugam Pokharel

The Indian Coast Guard has said that all boats in Porbander Harbour are safe. The coastal town is one of the most likely to bear the brunt of Tropical Cyclone Vayu.

What we know about the storm: Vayu formed Monday and strengthened Tuesday into a hurricane-strength tropical cyclone in the Arabian Sea. Powerful tropical cyclones rarely make it this far north in the Arabian Sea, and Gujarat state has not had a hurricane-strength storm make landfall in 20 years.

What to expect: The immediate coastline will still see heavy rain, strong winds, and storm surge, but the impacts will not be as great and they will not spread as far inland. 

1:36 a.m. ET, June 13, 2019

Famed Gujarat temple remains open despite typhoon

From CNN's Sugam Pokharel

Gujarat’s famous Somnath temple, located on the western coast in Saurashtra (where the impact of the storm is expected to be felt the most) has remained open, despite the cyclone warning.

The daily "aarti" (a Hindu worship ritual) carried on as usual Thursday morning.

Local news channels are showing footage of some devotees visiting the temple despite the strong winds.

The Somnath temple is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Hindus and is believed to be the first among twelve shrines, or jyotirlinga, to Lord Shiva.  

On Wednesday, the Chief Minster of Gujarat, Vijay Rupani, said in a press conference that the temple will remain open. “We have urged the devotees and tourists not to visit but we can’t close the temple," he said.

1:24 a.m. ET, June 13, 2019

Why Tropical Cyclone Vayu won't make landfall

From CNN's Swati Gupta

Sathi Devi, head of the national weather forecasting center at the Indian Meteorological Department explained to CNN why Tropical Cyclone Vayu would probably not make landfall.

“It is moving north, north-westward and it has already entered the north east Arabian Sea," Devi told CNN, adding that landfall won't happen "for this particular system."

"Landfall means that the system will cross the coast and go (onshore). That is not happening, but it is coming close and it is skirting the coast."

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center classifies landfall as when the center, or eye, of the storm moves onshore.

What can we expect?

Tropical Cyclone Vayu is expected to now reach the coast by Thursday afternoon at a speed of 135-145 kilometers per hour (83-90 mph), Devi said. CNN weather predicts the storm will remain 100-150 km (62-93 miles) off the coast.

The immediate coastline will still see heavy rain, strong winds, and storm surge, but the impacts will not be as great and they will not spread as far inland. 

Vayu is currently 150 kilometers (93 miles) south southwest of Diu -- an island union territory just off Gujarat coast and 110 kilometers (68 miles) southwest of the Gujarat city of Veraval.

12:30 a.m. ET, June 13, 2019

Tropical Cyclone Vayu unlikely to make landfall

From CNN Meteorologist Taylor Ward

Satellite view of Tropical Cyclone Vayu on Wednesday
Satellite view of Tropical Cyclone Vayu on Wednesday CNN

The trend over the past 12-24 hours shows the likely track of Tropical Cyclone Vayu has shifted offshore of Gujarat state in northwest India.

The center of the storm is expected to remain 100-150 kilometers (62-93 miles) off the coast.

The immediate coastline will still see heavy rain, strong winds, and storm surge, but the impacts will not be as great and they will not spread as far inland. Authorities have so far evacuated 300,000 people along the coast in anticipation of the storm.

The storm is still equivalent to a Category 2 hurricane and should maintain a similar strength over the next 12-18 hours as it passes offshore of Gujarat. Beyond this time period the storm will begin to move farther away into the Arabian Sea and will eventually fizzle out as we get to Saturday.

11:43 p.m. ET, June 12, 2019

Gujarat airports closed

From CNN's Sugam Pokharel

India's Airport Authority said that flights to and from five airports in the Gujarat region will be suspended for 12 hours -- from midnight local time on Wednesday to midnight local time on Thursday -- because of Tropical Cyclone Vayu.

Vayu, which is classified as a "very severe cyclonic storm," is currently 130 kilometers (81 miles) southwest of Veraval city in Gujarat state and is expected to continue to move up the coast on Thursday, bringing expected storm surges and wind speeds of 135-145 kilometers per hour (83-90 mph).