Indian authorities are bracing for a severe cyclone strengthening in the Arabian Sea that’s set to make landfall in the western state of Gujarat as India’s second major storm of the season, according to Al Jazeera.
The India Meteorological Department said on Wednesday that Cyclone Vayu was due to hit the Gujarat coast early on Thursday with winds gusting up to 170km an hour.
Gujarat’s chief minister Vijay Rupani requested on social media that tourists leave coastal areas by Wednesday afternoon. Authorities said more than a quarter of a million people living in low-lying areas would be evacuated.
By contrast, more than a million people were evacuated ahead of Cyclone Fani, which hit India’s eastern coast on the Bay of Bengal in May, killing 34 people.
Gujarat is home to large refineries and sea ports that lie near the storm’s path, officials said.
India’s Sikka Ports and Terminals Ltd, which handles crude oil and refined products for Reliance Industries Ltd, closed berthing of vessels at its western Indian port on Wednesday due to a cyclone warning, according to a port notice and a shipping industry source.