With severe cyclonic storm ‘Nisarga’ expected to cross Maharashtra and Gujarat coasts Wednesday afternoon, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a red alert for for Mumbai and neighbouring districts.

The deep depression over the Eastcentral Arabian Sea is very likely to move nearly northwards during next 6 hours and recurve north-northeastwards thereafter and cross north Maharashtra and adjoining south Gujarat coast between Harihareshwar (Raigad, Maharashtra) and Daman during the afternoon of June 3, the India Meteorological Department said today.

It is very likely to intensify into a severe cyclonic storm and cross Maharashtra coast, the weather department has said.

Cyclone ‘Nisarga’ is said to have an impact on Mumbai.

The nearly 260 km patch between Raigad and Daman has one of the highest population densities in the country. Apart from Mumbai, it also has satellites cities like Thane, Navi-Mumbai, Panvel, Kalyan-Dombivli, Mira-Bhayander, Vasai-Virar, Ulhasnagar, Badlapur and Ambernath.

“It will have an impact on Mumbai,” IMD director general Mrutyunjay Mohapatra told PTI.

When it crosses the coast on the evening of June 3, it will have a speed of 105-110 kmph, the IMD had said. Heavy rains are also expected in south Gujarat and coastal Maharashtra.

In view of the cyclonic storm, as many as nine National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams have been deployed in vulnerable districts – three in Mumbai, two in Palghar, one in Thane, one in Raigad, one in Ratnagiri and one in Sindhudurg.

“Nisarga is a severe cyclone and we’re expecting a wind speed of 90-100 kmph, which I think is negotiable. Still, as a precautionary measure, we are going to start the evacuation of people from the coastal areas of the two states (Maharashtra and Gujarat) soon,” NDRF Director-General SN Pradhan told news agency ANI on Monday.

Pradhan also informed that 21 teams of NDRF are deployed in both the states and 10 teams are on standby.

Steps are being taken to ensure there is no disruption of power supply at a time when the state is battling the coronavirus crisis and thousands of patients are undergoing treatment in various hospitals, the NDRF has said.

Meanwhile, on Monday evening, Union Home Minister Amit Shah held a video conference meeting with the chief ministers of Gujarat and Maharashtra and Administrator of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, and assured them all central help in view of Cyclone ‘Nisarga’.

The Home Minister asked them to spell out in details the requirements and resources needed.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has informed that the state’s disaster management, relief and rehabilitation department is fully prepared to deal with the cyclonic storm.

Fishermen have been called from the sea and District Collectors have been instructed to ensure that there is no loss of life, the CM said.

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani also chaired a high level meeting with state official in view of the approaching Cyclone Nisarga.

The cyclone comes at a time when Maharashtra is battling the Coronavirus pandemic with the state crossing 70,000 cases and Mumbai alone registering over 40,000 infections. As many as 2,362 deaths have been reported.

This will be the first time that a cyclone will make landfall on the Maharashtra coast in June since record-keeping began in 1891.