Cyclone Nisarga: The eye of the cyclone – an area of calm weather in the center of the storm – is visible in the radar, the weather department said this morning. The storm is being continuously tracked by the Doppler Weather Radars or DWRs in Goa and Mumbai.
Mumbai/ New Delhi, June 3:
Tropical storm Nisarga, which intensified into a “severe cyclonic storm” this morning, is headed towards the Maharashtra and Gujarat coasts and is expected to make landfall near coronavirus-hit Mumbai this afternoon. This will be the second cyclone to strike India in two weeks and the first to hit the financial capital in June in over 100 years. No one is allowed to come out in public places like beaches, parks and promenades along the Mumbai coastline, the police said in a late night order. Maharashtra, Gujarat, Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli have been put on high alert as some parts of these two states and the Union Territories fall on the path of the cyclone that developed over a low pressure area over the Arabian Sea.
Here are 10 developments in this big story:
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday appealed to the people of the state to “stay indoors”. “The cyclone could be more severe than the ones the state has faced till now. Activities which had resumed (as part of easing of lockdown) will be kept shut there for the next two days, people should remain alert,” Mr Thackeray said. With over 70,000 COVID-19 cases, the state is the worst-hit in the country by the pandemic.
The cyclonic storm will make landfall near Alibaug, about 100 km from Mumbai, triggering heavy rainfall and wind with speed up to 110 kilometre per hour, gusting up to 120 kmph, the India Meteorological Department or IMD said on Tuesday.
The eye of the cyclone – an area of calm weather in the center of the storm – is visible in the radar, the weather department said this morning. The storm is being continuously tracked by the Doppler Weather Radars or DWRs in Goa and Mumbai. “”Eye diameter is about 65 km as observed through Radar. thus the diameter has decrease during past 01 hour indicating intensification of system. hence wind speed has increased from 85-95 kmph to 90-100 kmph gusting to 110 kmph,” the weather office tweeted.
In Mumbai, the ban on movement of people is till Thursday noon, the police said in a late-night order, adding that anyone caught violating the ban will face criminal action. Over 10,000 people, including some coronavirus patients, have been moved to safer locations.
The civil aviation regulator – Directorate General of Civil Aviation or DGCA – on Tuesday cautioned airlines about the dangers of operating during monsoon and stormy conditions. Air and rail traffic has been disrupted due to the storm.
A storm surge – as high as two metres (three to 6.5 feet) above the astronomical tide – will inundate the low-lying coastal areas of Mumbai, Thane and Raigad districts during the landfall, the weather department has said.
Over 30 NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) teams have been deployed in areas expected to be affected along Maharashtra and Gujarat coasts. One NDRF team consists of 45 personnel. Gujarat has asked for five additional teams; 15 will be stationed in the state by Tuesday evening, with two more on standby, NDRF chief SN Pradhan said. Ten teams have been sent to Maharashtra with six on standby.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday tweeted: “Took stock of the situation in the wake of cyclone conditions in parts of India’s western coast. Praying for everyone’s well-being. I urge people to take all possible precautions and safety measures (sic)”. In a tweet, his office later said that PM Modi spoke to Maharashtra Chief Minster Uddhav Thackeray, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, assuring all possible help from the centre.
Indian Coast Guard ships and planes have been deployed along the coast to warn fishermen and merchant ships to return to harbour. Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s Office (CMO) on Tuesday listed some of the measures that were being taken. These included evacuating those staying in thatched huts. Non-COVID-19 hospitals have been instructed to prepare for any medical emergencies. The state is also taking measures in case of breaks in electricity supply and to secure the nuclear power plant in Palghar district.
Cyclone Nisarga will be the second to strike India’s coasts in less than two weeks; last month Cyclone Amphan, one of the worst storms to have formed over the Bay of Bengal in recent years, struck Bengal and parts of Odisha, killing nearly 100 people and affecting lakhs. Bengal Chief Minister estimated the damage done at Rs 1 lakh crore.