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Mumbai, June 3, 2020
People in the coastal districts of north Maharashtra and south Gujarat braced themselves as severe cyclone Nisarga closed in and was expected to cross the Maharashtra coast, south of Alibag, early Wednesday afternoon.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Twitter that the cyclone was expected to make landfall around 1 pm today and the process would be completed in the next three hours.
"The right side of the wall cloud region passes through coastal Maharashtra, covering mainly Raigad district. It will gradually enter into Mumbai and Thane district during next three hours," it said.
As heavy rains and strong winds were reported from many parts of the region, thousands of people in low-lying areas were moved to safer locations by the local authorities.
People and officials also took various precautions to ensure that the cyclone, one of the worst to hit the region in several decades, caused minimal damage to life and property.
In a red alert issued at 1000 hours today, the IMD said the cyclone over Eastcentral Arabian Sea had moved northeastwards with a speed of about 13 kmph during the past six hours and lay centred at 0830 hours IST near latitude 17.6°N and longitude 72.3°E, about 130 km south-southwest of Alibag, 170 km south-southwest of Mumbai and 400 km south-southwest of Surat (Gujarat).
"It is very likely to move north-northeastwards and cross north Maharashtra coast close to south of Alibag (Raigad District, Maharashtra) during the afternoon of today the 03rd June as a Severe Cyclonic Storm with maximum sustained wind speed of 100-110 kmph gusting to 120 kmph," the bulletin said.
The system is now being continuously tracked by the Doppler Weather Radars (DWRs) at Mumbai (Maharashtra) and Goa, it said.
Teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Coast Guard, Home Guards, Fire Brigades and other emergency services, including the police, were in position to handle any eventuality.
Flights in and out of Mumbai were curtailed in view of the cyclone.
The metropolis has been experiencing rains since yesterday evening and several low-lying areas were water-logged.
In Gujarat, the state authorities have initiated action to shift around 80,000 people to safer places in south Gujarat, including the coastal areas of Surat, Navsari, Valsad and Bharuch districts.
Cyclone Nisarga is hitting the west coast two weeks after super cyclone Amphan had struck West Bengal, Odisha and Bangladesh on May 20, claiming more than 90 lives and causing widespread destruction of public and private property.
The IMD bulletin said light to moderate rainfall was very likely to occur at most places over north Konkan (Mumbai, Palghar, Thane, Raigad districts) and north Madhya Maharashtra during the next 24 hours, with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places and extremely heavy falls (20 cm or more in 24 hours) at isolated places.
Light to moderate rainfall was very likely at most places over south Konkan ( Ratnagiri & Sindhudurg districts), Goa, south Gujarat region (Valsad, Navsari, Dangs and Surat districts), Daman and Dadra & Nagar Haveli during the next 24 hours, with heavy to very heavy falls at isolated places.
The bulletin said light to moderate rainfall was likely at most places over west Madhya Pradesh and Vidarbha during the next 24 hours, with heavy falls at isolated places.
The IMD said gale wind, speed reaching 100-110 kmph gusting to 120 kmph, is prevailing over Eastcentral Arabian Sea. From noon of today, it will become gale wind, speed reaching 100-110 kmph gusting to 120 kmph, over eastcentral Arabian Sea along and off north Maharashtra coast (Raigad, Mumbai and adjoining Thane), 85-95 kmph gusting to 105 kmph along and off Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Palghar and remaining areas of Thane.
Gale wind, speed reaching 60-80 kmph gusting to 90 kmph, is likely along and off Valsad, Navsari districts of Gujarat, Daman, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and along and off northeast Arabian Sea and 60-70 kmph gusting to 80 kmph along and off Surat and Bharuch districts of south Gujarat from today afternoon.
Squally wind, speed reaching 50-60 kmph gusting to 70 kmph, is likely to prevail over northeast Arabian Sea along and off remaining districts of south Gujarat coast today.
Squally wind, speed reaching 50-60 kmph gusting to 70 kmph is likely prevail over eastcentral Arabian Sea along and off Karnataka-Goa coasts during the next 12 hours.
The bulletin said the sea condition will be high to very high over eastcentral Arabian Sea and along and off Maharashtra and Goa coasts till today evening. The sea condition is very likely to be very rough to high over northeast Arabian Sea along and off south Gujarat coast till today evening.
Storm surge of about 1-2 metres height above astronomical tide is very likely to inundate low-lying areas of Mumbai, Thane and Raigad districts and 0.5-1 metre height above the astronomical tide is likely to inundate low-lying areas of Ratnagiri district during the time of landfall.
Fishermen were advised not to venture into Eastcentral and Northeast Arabian Sea and along and off Karnataka-Goa-Maharashtra-south Gujarat coasts during the next 24 hours.
The cyclone is expected to cause major damage to thatched houses/ huts. Roof tops may blow off and unattached metal sheets may fly off, it said.
There could be damage to power and communication lines, major damage to "kutcha" and some damage to "pucca" roads as well as flooding of escape routes. Breaking of tree branches, uprooting of large avenue trees, and damage to banana and papaya trees are likely.
The bulletin said there could be major damage to coastal crops, and damage to embankments/ salt pans.
The bulletin called for total suspension of fishing operations, evacuation of people from low-lying areas and judicious regulation of rail and road traffic. People in affected areas were advised to remain indoors. Movement in motor boats and small ships is unsafe, it added.
After the landfall, Nisarga is very likely to maintain its cyclonic storm intensity for about six hours, while moving north-northeastwards across north Madhya Maharashtra.
Under its influence, gale wind reaching 60-70 kmph gusting to 80 kmph very likely to prevail over Pune, Ahmednagar and 55-65 kmph gusting to 75 kmph over adjoining Beed, Nashik & Aurangabad districts of Maharashtra. Light to moderate rainfall at most places, with heavy to very heavy falls at isolated places, is also very likely over these districts today,
Minor damage to power and communication lines, damage to Kutcha roads and some damage to Pucca roads, breaking of tree branches, uprooting of small trees, and damage to banana andpapaya trees is very likely in these districts. People in these areas have been advised to remain indoors.