As Cyclone Nilofar approaches the western coast of India, authorities have begun evacuating tens of thousands of people. Nilofar has been classified as a “severe” cyclone, and on Saturday, it has been forecast to hit Gujarat state.
According to India’s Meteorological Department, the cyclone could bring sustained winds of up to 80 miles per hour. The army has been placed on stand-by and relief and rescue teams are already on their way to the Gujarat state.
In eastern Orissa state, a super-cyclone that hit in 1999 resulted in the deaths of over 10,000 people. Also, earlier in October, over 40 people were killed when Cyclone Hudhud slammed into the eastern coast of India. More than 350,000 people were evacuated prior to that.
According to local weather officials, Cyclone Nilofar is expected to pass just 150 miles away from Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city. In preparation, Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority is evacuating villagers along the entire coast and they have closed the many restaurants on the beaches of the area.
Rainfall has been forecast to be heavy and fishermane at sea have been asked to return to the shore. The weather department said that the sea will be “rough to very rough” along the coastline.
In the Kutch district of Gujarat, authorities are reportedly evacuating 30,000 people. There have been 200 relief centers set up and schools and colleges have been closed in the area.
Cyclone Nilofar is expected to cause severe damage and possibly result in a high death total. There are tens of thousands of people who are being evacuated prior to the cyclone hitting the area on Saturday.
Written By Douglas Cobb
NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, Goddard Space Flight Center – Flickr License