Cyclone Nisarga to intensify into 'severe cyclonic storm' and make landfall close to Alibaug today afternoon

Mumbai: The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Tuesday predicted that Cyclone Nisarga is likely to intensify into a 'severe cyclonic storm' over the next 12 hours and will make landfall close to Alibaug on Wednesday afternoon. The storm surge is expected to be one to two metres above the astronomical tide and is very likely to inundate low-lying areas of Mumbai, Thane and Raigad districts at the time of landfall, according to IMD officials.

Palghar, Pune, Thane, Mumbai, Raigad, Dhule, Nandurbar, and Nashik are expected to receive heavy rainfall on Wednesday.

The cyclone is expected to make landfall just 110km north of Mumbai on June 3, and is likely to trigger flash floods all along Maharashtra's coast, including in the metropolitan region. Wind speeds could reach 115kmph, with gales of up to 125kmph, said officials.

Roxy Mathew Koll, a climate scientist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, said, "Cyclone Nisarga is about to scrape around Mumbai on June 3. If that happens, it will be the first-ever cyclone in recorded history to hit the Maharashtra coast in June." The reason for Mumbai’s low risk lies in the weather dynamics of the Arabian Sea. On average, the sea sees one or two cyclonic formations every year — far fewer than in the Bay of Bengal, according to experts.


Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday evening addressed the state via video conferencing. "Live safe and help those in need during cyclone which is expected to strike on June 3 afternoon. Take all precautions," he said, urging them to be prepared to tackle the storm in the same way they had responded in the fight against the pandemic.

Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called up Thackeray and assured all possible help from the Centre. Mahesh Palawat, head of the private weather forecasting organisation Skymet, said any storm takes several hours to move from the coast. "Its effects can be seen for 3-4 hours. Due to this, with the wind speed being 100 to 120 km, there could be 200 mm or more rain. The effect is likely to be most pronounced in Palghar. This storm will move towards South Gujarat via North Mumbai,” he said.

Over 21,000 residents of 22 villages in Palghar district are being evacuated. On the radar are Vasai, Dahanu and Talasari talukas, district collector Dr Kailas Shinde said.

Fishermen have been warned to not venture in the sea. 31 NDRF teams have also been deployed to carry out rescue operations. Widespread damage is expected. The Navy has kept five flood teams and three diving teams on stand-by in Mumbai, a defence spokesperson said. These teams, trained and equipped for rescue operations, are stationed at various naval areas across Mumbai and can provide early response over a larger area. Thackeray in his address urged people to avoid taking shelter in temporary structures, dilapidated buildings and the like. He also urged them to switch off power, if necessary, especially in rural areas, and store drinking water. "We have set up jumbo facilities for COVID patients at BKC," he added.



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