Cyclone Ockhi today moved closer to the southern coast near Surat in Gujarat and is expected to make a landfall in the state around midnight, said officials. As per the latest forecast released by the Meteorological Centre here, the cyclone is now just 390 kms away from Surat. The cyclone is approaching Gujarat steadily and now lies centred in the Arabian Sea just 390 kms away from Surat. It is very likely to continue moving north-northwestwards, an official of the MeT centre said. As per the latest bulletin of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued today, the cyclone is expected to hit the coastline near Surat by tonight. “It is very likely to continue to move north- northwestwards, weaken gradually and cross south Gujarat and adjoining Maharashtra coasts near Surat as a deep depression by the night of December 5,” said the latest IMD bulletin. The IMD has forecast light to moderate rainfall in most places with heavy rainfall at isolated places in Saurashtra and south Gujarat. As predicted by the weathermen, several districts today received light rain since morning, even as almost the entire state witnessed overcast skies. The Met centre has warned that when the cyclone hits the Gujarat coast, “wind speed would remain between 50 and 60 kmph and may reach up to 70 kmph in south Gujarat”.
According to principal secretary in the state revenue department, Pankaj Kumar, at least nine districts have received light showers or drizzle since the morning. Dharmarpur town of southern Gujarat received a maximum rainfall of 25 mm, he said. The other districts experiencing a wet spell are Botad, Arvalli, Chhotaudepur, Dahod, Mahisagar, Sabarkantha, Navsari and Rajkot. Gujarat’s chief secretary J N Singh has convened a video conference with the collectors of coastal districts to review their preparedness to deal with any eventuality, Kumar added.