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Cyclone Ockhi moves closer to Gujarat IMD issues warning

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AHMEDABAD: Cyclone Ockhi on Tuesday moved closer to the southern coast near Surat in Gujarat and is expected to make a landfall in the state around midnight.

The cyclone is approaching Gujarat steadily and now lies centred in the Arabian Sea and is very likely to continue moving north-northwestwards.

As per the latest bulletin of the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the cyclone is expected to hit the coastline near Surat by Tuesday night.

"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 further said:

- Heavy rain over south Gujarat region, north Konkan and north Madhya Maharashtra. Squally winds speed reaching 50­60 gusting to 70 kmph along & off north Maharashtra and south Gujarat coasts and 40­50 gusting to 60 kmph around Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

- Strong surface winds speed reaching 25­35 kmph gusting to 45 kmph likely over parts of south Gujarat region, interior parts of north Konkan and north Madhya Maharashtra.

- Heavy to very heavy rain very likely at isolated places over Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

- Sea conditions are very likely to be rough to very rough along and off north Maharashtra and south Gujarat coasts and around Andaman and Nicobar Islands.  

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) also issued warning for south Gujarat and north Maharashtra coasts, saying, "Fishermen are advised not to venture into the sea along and off South Gujarat and north Maharashtra coasts during next 24 hours."

 Meanwhile, according to principal secretary in the state revenue department, Pankaj Kumar, at least nine districts have received light showers or drizzle since Tuesday 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 state authorities have taken several precautionary measures against the backdrop of the cyclone leaving a trail of destruction in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. 

Schools have been ordered to remain closed in the region till Wednesday. The Coast Guard has called back around 13,000 fishing boats that ventured into the seas on Monday evening.

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