India evacuated hundreds of thousands of people to shelters along the coast in its western state of Gujarat as a cyclone gathering intensity over the Arabian Sea was expected to hit land today.
Weather officials said Cyclone Vayu, with wind speeds equivalent to those of a Category 1 hurricane, is set to cross the coast with sustained wind speeds of 145 kph to 155 kmph, and could gust as high as 170 kmph.
The state government said it had begun moving about 300,000 people from the most vulnerable areas into shelters.
The India Meteorological Department warned the cyclone could hold up the progress of annual monsoon rains.
The monsoon was already about a week late in arriving at Kerala on the southern coast this year, and much of the country has broiled in a summer heatwave in recent weeks.