The intensity of cyclone Biparjoy, which lashed the Saurashtra-Kutch region, has reduced from 'very severe' to 'severe' category hours after making landfall in coastal areas of Gujarat, an official said on Friday.

The cyclone has moved northeastwards and has weakened into a cyclonic storm and will become a depression by the evening over south Rajasthan, the official said.

A general view shows waves crashing at Mandvi beach some 100 km southeast of Jakhau Port on June 15, 2023, ahead of Cyclone Biparjoy landfall.

A general view shows waves crashing at Mandvi beach some 100 km southeast of Jakhau Port on June 15, 2023, ahead of Cyclone Biparjoy landfall. | Photo Credit: SAM PANTHAKY

Biparjoy (meaning disaster or calamity in Bengali) unleashed destructive wind speeds of up to 140 kmph and incessant rains as trees and electricity poles were uprooted, while seawater entered villages located in low-lying areas.

“Forty-five villages in Naliya tehsil of Kutch district plunged into darkness after electricity cables were snapped and poles got uprooted due to the cyclone,” the official said.

A cattle-rearer duo of father and son died while trying to save their goats stuck in a flooded ravine in Bhavnagar district on Thursday.

Howling winds yanked hundreds of trees, damaged communication towers, toppled electricity poles, flung solid objects, and raised dusty squalls, that virtually resulted in zero visibility in some areas.

Kutch collector Amit Arora said no report of any fatality caused due to the cyclone has been received so far from the district.

“There are cases of injuries and trauma,” he said.

An official of the State Emergency Operation Centre (SEOC) said they have not received report of any death from the state so far.

In a statement issued on Friday morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said, “BIPARJOY has weakened into severe cyclonic storm and lay centred at 0530IST of today over Saurashtra & Kutch, about 70km East-North East of Jakhau Port (Gujarat), 50 km North-East of Naliya. It is very likely to move nearly North-Eastwards and weaken gradually into a cyclonic storm over Saurashtra & Kutch around noon and subsequently into a deep depression around evening of 16th June.” The cyclone will move towards south Rajasthan, a met department official said.

Relief and rescue operations were underway with multiple teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) deployed in the affected districts, officials said.

CM review rescue and relief operations

Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel reviewed the situation and the rescue and relief operation at the State Emergency Operation Centre in Gandhinagar.

The landfall process of the 'very severe cyclonic storm' commenced at around 6:30 pm along the coast of Saurashtra-Kutch, and was completed after midnight, the official said.

The eye of the cyclone, which was churning across the Arabian Sea for more than 10 days, was located around 20 km southwest of Jakhau port, 120 km northwest of Devbhumi Dwarka and 50 km west-southwest of Naliya.

Landfall indicates a cyclonic storm moving over land after being over water.

While approaching the Gujarat coast, the cyclone moved with a speed of 13 kmph. During landfall, the wind speed was 115-125 kmph, gusting to 140 kmph, the IMD said.

The state government said it has deployed 631 medical teams and 504 ambulances in the eight affected districts.

The state administration said that till Thursday evening, it had shifted more than 94,000 persons living in the eight coastal districts to temporary shelters.

Apart from teams of the NDRF and SDRF, the Indian Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Border Security Force (BSF) have been roped in for relief and rescue operations, officials said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Patel over the phone on Thursday night and enquired about the situation in the state following the landfall.