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May 16, 2021

Cyclone Tauktae likely to intensify further in next 18-24 hours

KARACHI: The Pakistan Meteorological Department on Saturday night warned that Cyclone Tauktae "is likely to intensify further" during the next 18-24 hours. In an advisory posted on its website, PMD said that Tauktae may transform into a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm (VSCS) during next 18-24 hours. It is expected to move further in the northwest direction and reach Indian Gujarat by the afternoon/evening of May 18. It said the cyclonic storm has tracked northwestward at a speed of 18km and at 2100 PST it lay centered near latitude 14.5N and longitude 72.8E, at a distance of about 1,310km south-southeast of Karachi. "Maximum sustained winds around the system centre are 100-120 kmph gusting to 140 kmph," the advisory said. It said that based on the existing meteorological conditions, dust/thunderstorm-rain with a few incidences of moderate to heavy rainfall with gusty winds of 60-80 Kmph are likely to occur in Thatta, Sujawal, Badin, Tharparker, Mirpurkhas, Umerkot and Sanghar districts between May 17 and 20. The Met department said dust/thunderstorm-rains with isolated moderate to heavy rainfall and gusty winds of 40-60 kmph are also likely in Karachi, Hyderabad, Jamshoro and Shaeed- Banzirabad, between May 18 and 20. Sea conditions are forecast to be rough to very rough and fishermen are advised not to venture in the sea between May 16 and 20.

Meanwhile, owing to the rain forecast, the Civil Aviation Authority has issued a "high alert" at the Jinnah International Airport.

A circular directs the concerned departments to ensure small fixed winged aircraft and rotary winged helicopters are properly weighed down with additional weights.

It also asked that some aircraft be taken inside hangars for parking so they stay protected from strong winds.

The CAA notification said that steps have been taken to ensure safety during air travel.

It warned that during rain, there is a likelihood of various kinds of bird-related incidents and so all precaution against such incidents must be taken.

For the purpose, it has been directed that bird shooters be deployed in the area around the airport.

Furthermore, it was advised that fumigation be carried out, as rain leads to a rise in the presence of insects, especially mosquitoes.

In view of the dangers posed during a storm by buildings under construction, the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) issued a notice asking all builders to secure structures under construction.

It asked that all cranes in construction sites be moved to safe locations.

Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah was briefed on the developing system today after which he declared an emergency in all districts of the province that lie on the coastal belt.

He ordered the establishment of a control cell which was later notified by the government. Emergency contact information was also released for the public to communicate on in case of any rain-related emergencies.

Keeping in view the presentation given to him by the Met office and Provincial Disaster Management Authority, the chief minister directed the administration in Karachi to start clearing all the choking points of nullahs. He also directed Commissioner Karachi Naveed Shaikh and Administrator KMC Laiq Ahmed to start removing all billboards and neo-signs.

The chief minister directed the PDSMA to provide dewatering machines and generators to the district administration in the city and in the other districts where required.

He also asked builders to take precautionary measures in view of dangers posed by under-construction buildings.

The chief minister also issued directives to fishermen, telling them not to go into the deep sea for fishing from Sunday onwards.