Severe cyclone heading towards southern India; 4 dead – fr

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Severe cyclone heading towards southern India; 4 dead – fr


NEW DELHI – A severe cyclone roars in the Arabian Sea off southwest India with winds of up to 140 kilometers per hour (87 miles per hour), already causing heavy rains and killing floods at least four people, officials said on Sunday.

Cyclone Tauktae, the first major storm of the season, is expected to make landfall in Gujarat state on Tuesday, according to a statement from the Indian Meteorological Department.

The huge storm will likely hamper India’s fight against a coronavirus wave sweeping the country with a devastating death toll, as virus lockdown measures can slow relief work and damage from the storm could potentially destroy roads and cut vital supply lines.

In areas along the Arabian Sea coast, four people were killed and 73 villages severely damaged on Sunday, according to the Southwest Karnataka State Disaster Management Authority.

Nearly 2,500 government rescuers have been deployed to six states on the path to Cyclone Tauktae – Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa – equipped with wireless radios, satellite phones, cutters and tools needed by post-cyclone operations.

The storm, moving at a speed of 11 kilometers per hour (7 miles per hour), was currently 660 kilometers (410 miles) southeast of Veraval in the state of Gujarat, the meteorological department said. Indian.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed with officials on Saturday the readiness of states to deal with the cyclone, according to a government statement.

The region is no stranger to devastating cyclones, but climate change has made them more intense rather than more frequent.

In the last hurricane season, KJ Ramesh, the former head of the Indian meteorological agency, said the increased ferocity of the storms was due to the temperature of the sea surface. The warm water in the ocean is l where storms get their energy, and the amount of heat trapped in the top 700 meters (2,300 feet) of the seas has increased.

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