Hundreds of Thousands Evacuated as Cyclone Vayu Approaches India

June 12, 2019 Updated: June 21, 2019

Around 300,000 people were evacuated from coastal areas in India as Cyclone Vayu approached, according to reports. The storm is equivalent to a Category 2 hurricane.

The Associated Press reported that the storm is slated to hit the western coast of Gujarat later in the week. The area hasn’t been threatened by a cyclone of this strength since one made landfall in 1999.

CNN reported that the hundreds of thousands of people are slated to be evacuated in about 700 shelter homes.

Two months ago, Cyclone Fani slammed northeastern India and Bangladesh as a Category 3 storm, killing several dozen people, AccuWeather reported.

Schools and universities in Gujarat state and the Union Territory of Daman and Diu are closed until June 13, according to the BBC.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that he urged people in the path of the cyclone to stay safe.

“Praying for the safety and well-being of all those affected by Cyclone Vayu,” he wrote on June 12. “The Government and local agencies are providing real-time information, which I urge those in affected areas to closely follow.”

So far, according to Indian news website LiveMint, about 300,000 people have been relocated ahead of the storm, which is expected to pack 110 mph wind gusts

“It is progressing very fast, but will begin to lose intensity after landfall on Thursday. It is also drawing moisture from the southwest monsoon, which has strengthened it,” D.S. Pai, a senior scientist with India’s forecasting agency, told LiveMint.

“The intensity depends on how long the cyclone travels over the ocean. Cyclone Vayu is not likely to become ‘extreme’ like Cyclone Fani, which caused massive destruction in Odisha,” added Jayant Sarkar, another scientist.

Ahead of Fani, Indian officials had evacuated more than 1.2 million people, Reuters reported.