Cyclone Vayu has taken a sharp turn to the west and will spare the western Indian state of Gujarat from the most destructive wind and torrential rain, according to AccuWeather.com.
More than a quarter of a million people have been evacuated from communities along coastal Gujarat, according to the Times of India.
Vayu is expected to remain a very severe cyclonic storm as it parallels the coast into Friday.
A cyclone this strong has not tracked this close to Gujarat since an extreme severe cyclonic storm made landfall near India's border with Pakistan in May 1999. The previous year, a very severe cyclonic storm slammed into Gujarat near Porbandar in June.
Vayu is occurring less than two months after Fani killed more than two dozen people in northeastern India and Bangladesh in early May. An extremely severe cyclonic storm when it slammed onto the coast of Odisha, Fani was stronger than Vayu is expected to be at landfall.
Residents and officials are breathing a sigh of relief as Vayu has taken a turn to the west. That should allow the worst of the dangerous cyclone to narrowly miss the coast.
Despite that, bands of heavy rain and strong winds are still expected to spread up the coast into Friday.
Wind gusts of 65-95 km per hour can buffet the coast, causing tree damage and power outages.
Seas will remain extremely dangerous for anyone to enter the water.
Homes and businesses along the coast of Gujarat may be subject to storm surge flooding. This includes along the Gulf of Khambhat as the water is funnelled toward the coast.
Beyond Friday, Vayu will gradually weaken over the open waters of the northern Arabian Sea.
Schools and colleges in the district of Rajkot in Gujrat cancelled classes on Thursday, according to India Today. The government has deployed 36 teams to aid rescue and relief operations in areas in the path of the cyclone.
Flight operations at airports in Gujarat have been halted for Thursday, while ferry services were suspended in Mumbai.