An ‘extremely severe’ cyclone made landfall in India’s state of Gujarat with wind speeds of up to 160 km per hour.
Cyclone Tauktae travelled along India’s western coast, narrowly missing the city of Mumbai. At least 12 people were killed and 150,000 evacuated.
The navy has sent three warships to try to rescue more than four-hundred people stranded off the coast in two barges.
The cyclone comes amid a Covid-19 wave that has overwhelmed Indian hospitals. Mumbai has already moved 580 Covid positive patients from dedicated centres to civic hospitals as a precaution.
Officials have advised people to stay indoors, amid anticipation of flooded roads, damaged power lines and uprooted trees.
Thousands of fishing boats have returned to harbour, and hundreds of merchant ships have been asked to re-route.
Late on Monday local time, India’s meteorological department announced that the “extremely severe cyclonic storm” had begun to make landfall in Gujarat. It took several hours for the eye of the cyclone to come ashore.
The storm then weakened and was classified down as “very severe”, the weather bureau said on Tuesday morning.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) later said in a tweet that the cyclone was continuing to show a “weakening trend”.
Rains from the storm killed six people in Kerala, Karnataka and Goa over the weekend as the cyclone moved along the western coastline. Another six were reported killed in Maharashtra state on Monday.
Houses were destroyed and electricity was disrupted across several districts in these states.
Tauktae is the strongest cyclone to strike the region since 1998 which killed over 4,000 people.