Weather office warns of floods as India, Pakistan brace for cyclone


AHMEDABAD/MUMBAI, June – Roads will be flooded along parts of India’s western coast, crops could be damaged and some houses destroyed when a very severe cyclonic storm makes landfall late on Thursday, the country’s weather department said.
On Wednesday, the storm Biparjoy was situated in the Arabian Sea about 280 km (174 miles) from Jakhau Port in the Indian state of Gujarat and 340 km from Pakistan’s largest city Karachi, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
As heavy rain already began pounding coastal regions, authorities evacuated thousands of people.
Pakistan’s Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman said Karachi, a city of 20 million people, was not under immediate threat, but emergency measures were being taken to deal with accompanying winds and rain that are expected to batter the economic hub.
The IMD criteria for cyclones classified Biparjoy as a category one storm, the least severe on its one-to-five scale.
“It will touch Kutch-Saurashtra coast (in Gujarat) adjoining the Pakistan coast between Mandvi and Karachi and near Jakhau port on June 15 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. in India (1030-1430 GMT),” Manorama Mohanty, the Gujarat director of the IMD, told reporters.
“As of now, our forecast is it will cross as a very severe cyclonic storm. After crossing, its intensity will fall and become a cyclonic storm and depression.”
Meteorologists said the cyclone packed winds with maximum sustained speeds of 125-135 km (78-84 miles) per hour, gusting up to 150 km (93 miles) per hour, and warned high tides in the Arabian Sea could inundate low-lying areas along the coasts.
Temporary thatched houses could be completely destroyed while standing crops, plantations and roads were expected to face major damage, the IMD said in a statement, adding that railways could also face disruption.