Cyclone Nisarga makes landfall near Mumbai
Cyclone Nisarga, which started off as a deep depression over the East-central Arabian Sea, made landfall along the Western coast of India around 12:30 pm, said reports. The process will take about three hours to complete, India Meteorological Department (IMD) said. The landfall started near Alibag, some 100 kilometer away from Mumbai, and will eventually move towards the Maharashtra capital. Here are more details.
Nisarga's landfall comes few weeks after the Eastern coast of India, particularly West Bengal, was shattered by Cyclone Amphan. This is also the first cyclone to hit Mumbai in decades. Mumbai, Thane, Palghar, Raigad, Dhule, Nandurbar, and Nashik districts were put on red alert, with the weather department saying that isolated places will receive heavy rainfall. Gujarat would be affected too.
The coastline from Konkan's Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri to Bhavnagar in Saurashtra; and areas like Surat and Bharuch in Gujarat won't remain unscathed as wind warnings have been issued. The diameter of the eye of the cyclone, a calm weather area at storm's center, had earlier decreased to 65 kilometer, implying that Nisarga had intensified. Yesterday, some places witnessed rainfall.
Further, the MeT department anticipated that 6-feet tall storm surges could inundate low-lying areas of Maharashtra. A massive evacuation exercise was launched and nearly 100,000 people, including coronavirus patients, were taken to safer places. Coronavirus has jolted Maharashtra, making it India's worst-hit state, and overwhelming hospitals. In Mumbai alone, the number of infected persons has crossed 40,000 and over 1,300 have died.
Reports said at least 150 COVID-19 patients were shifted from a newly-constructed field hospital to a facility having a concrete roof. The state is concerned about power cuts, which could prove catastrophic for patients on ventilators. To note, measures were taken in Maharashtra to secure Palghar's nuclear power plant. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray asked people to charge their gadgets and keep emergency lights handy.
Telling citizens that the approaching storm isn't anything like the state witnessed before, Thackeray urged everyone to stay indoors. "Tomorrow and the day after are crucial in coastal areas... Activities which had resumed (as part of easing of lockdown) will be kept shut there for the next two days, people should remain alert," he said yesterday. He spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi too.
PM @narendramodi has spoken to CM of Maharashtra Shri Uddhav Thackeray, CM of Gujarat Shri @vijayrupanibjp and Administrator of Daman Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli Shri @prafulkpatel regarding the cyclone situation. He assured all possible support and assistance from the Centre.— PMO India (@PMOIndia) June 2, 2020
Experts said the impending damage would be more intense as compared to the 1960s since Mumbai has lost most of its floodplains. Roxy Mathew Koll, a senior scientist at Pune's Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, told HT that Mithi river has become a drain, and roads, buildings, and airports have replaced natural defenses like mangroves. This is exactly why floods are prolonged in Mumbai.
Reportedly, at least five trains, scheduled to depart from Mumbai, have been rescheduled. IndiGo said flight operations are likely to be affected in Surat, Shirdi, Mumbai, and Pune, details of which will be communicated to fliers via email/SMS. Nearly 43 NDRF teams, each consisting of 45 members, were sent to both states. 21 are in Maharashtra, said NDRF Director General SN Pradhan.
In Gujarat, nearly 35,000 people were evacuated from areas like Bharuch, Surat, Navsari, and Valsad. "Of these, 16,597 have been shifted to 265 shelter homes by Tuesday late evening," Harshad Patel, the state's relief commissioner, said. After the cyclone alert was sounded, hundreds of fishermen returned to Nargol village, Valsad district on Monday evening. They are now waiting for an all-clear signal.
"Our business went down by 60% in the last two months due to the coronavirus lockdown, and now this.... Now we have to wait until further instructions from the authorities (to venture out into the sea again)," Nargol Fishermen Association's President, Dattatray Davne, told IE.