Cyclone Biparjoy: 74,000 evacuated in Gujarat, sea waves swallow a bridge, landfall just hours away

The western Indian state of Gujarat has evacuated at least 74,000 people from the coastal areas vulnerable to the worst impact of Cyclone Biparjoy (pronounced ‘be-pur-joy’) — the Bengali word means “calamity” or “disaster”; it was suggested by Bangladesh — which is just hours away from landfall. The cyclone is expected to hit Jakhau in Gujarat by this evening and the landfall will continue well into the night.

The giant vortex of Cyclone Biparjoy over the Arabian Sea, captured by Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi, who is now at the International Space Station. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@Astro_Alneyadi

While a plethora of real and fake videos of the massive storm are circulating on Twitter, including the video of a tornado that is clearly not of anywhere in South Asia, let alone in coastal Gujarat, some of the best visuals of Cyclone Biparjoy so far have come from the outer space.

Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi, who is now at the International Space Station, posted some photos on Twitter yesterday, showing the giant storm vortex of Biparjoy over the Arabian Sea, off the western coast of India.

Cyclone Biparjoy looming before landfall in Gujarat. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@Astro_Alneyadi

The city of Mumbai, in Maharashtra, has been experiencing huge waves as part of the Biparjoy effect, while strong impact will also most likely be felt in Karachi, Pakistan.

A video posted on Twitter by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) outlined the havoc to be wreaked by Biparjoy. It said that damage was expected over “Kutch, Devbhumi Dwarka, Porbandar, Jamnagar, Morbi, Junagarh, and Rajkot” districts of Gujarat today.

IMD predicted “total destruction” of thatched huts, “extensive damage” to kutcha houses, and “some damage” to pucca houses. The video outlined other expected threats and damages from the cyclone, including flying objects.

One of the viral videos shared on Twitter showed huge waves rising in the sea and practically swallowing up a bridge, claimed to be in Gujarat.

There had been earlier reports that Biparjoy had developed into an “extremely severe cyclonic storm (ESCS)”, but the IMD posts described it as a “very severe cyclonic storm (VSCS)” — that still means wind speeds up to 150kmph.