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Cyclone Tauktae seen Sunday afternoon Eastern Time moving parallel to the west coast of India. (CIRA/RAMMB)

Tropical Cyclone Tauktae rapidly intensified Sunday into a Category 4 storm, passing uncomfortably close to the west coast of India.

The big picture: Packing maximum sustained winds of at least 140 mph, Tauktae (pronounced "Tau'Te"), rapidly intensified Sunday, becoming a Category 4 storm capable of inflicting extreme damage. The cyclone is producing heavy rains and gusty winds along the coast, along with coastal flooding from wind-driven waves.

  • While its strongest winds and heaviest rains will remain just offshore as it makes its closest pass to Mumbai, the city will feel its effects during the next 12-24 hours.
  • The storm comes as India continues to reel from the impacts of the devastating coronavirus outbreak there, which has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

Details: The India Meteorological Department (IMD), along with the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center, is predicting the storm will make landfall on May 17 along the coast of Gujarat, bringing a wall of water onshore to the east of the storm's center.

  • Storm surge heights could exceed 3 meters, or 10 feet, the IMD predicts, though the worst coastal flooding may not affect highly populated areas.
  • The most severe effects of the storm, in the form of flooding rains, storm surge flooding, and high winds appears poised to hit the city of Ahmedabad, which has a population of between 5 and 6 million.
  • Once the storm makes landfall, its rains will spread inland, posing a flooding threat all the way northeastward toward New Delhi.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Threat level: The storm is likely to continue intensifying into Sunday night, with waters of the East Arabian Sea sufficiently warm to support a high-end tropical cyclone. It is likely to make landfall Monday evening IST in the state of Gujarat, as at least a Category 2, but possibly an even stronger cyclone.

  • While India has made great strides in recent years when it comes to storm preparation and evacuations, greatly lowering the death toll from such extreme weather events, the challenges COVID-19 brings present a wild card in such efforts.
  • It is likely that the storm will disrupt the flow of coronavirus aid, from oxygen bottles to other needed equipment, to heavily populated areas, including Mumbai, Ahmedabad, and possibly New Delhi later in the week.

Go deeper

Tropical Storm Henri set to strike Northeast with storm surge, inland flooding

Tropical Storm Henri as seen from satellite imagery on Sunday. Photo: CIRA/RAMMB

Tropical Storm Henri was barreling toward the Northeast coastline Sunday morning, on track to make landfall in Long Island or southern New England later in the day.

The latest: The storm is packing maximum sustained winds near 70 mph with higher gusts, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its 8 a.m. ET advisory. "Some slight weakening will be possible this morning, but Henri is still forecast to be a strong tropical storm when it reaches the coasts of southern New England and Long island," it added.

Hurricane Grace makes landfall in Mexico before weakening, at least 8 killed

A man walks in a flooded street due to heavy rains caused by Hurricane Grace in Tecolutla, Veracruz, Mexico, on Saturday. Photo: Victoria Razo/AFP via Getty Images

Tropical Storm Grace made landfall in Mexico as a Category 3 hurricane on Saturday, but has since weakened, according to the National Hurricane Center.

State of play: Veracruz state authorities said at least eight people have been killed amid the storm. Grace went through a burst of rapid intensification Friday night, going from a Category 1 to a Category 3 hurricane in less than 24 hours.

Millions in Northeast brace for winds, flooding from Tropical Storm Henri

Docked boats on North Atlantic Ocean are seen as Tropical Storm Henri prepares to make landfall. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Residents in southern New England and on Long Island braced for Tropical Storm Henri on Sunday, as heavy rain from the outer edges of the storm was already causing flash flooding in parts of the region.

The latest: Henri was downgraded to a tropical storm, but it was still expected to wreak havoc in parts of the Northeast, with storm surge and inland flooding among its greatest threats.