Tropical storm Nisarga, which intensified into a “severe cyclonic storm” this morning, has made landfall on the Maharashtra coast. The storm made its landfall near Alibag, about 100 km from Mumbai, triggering heavy rainfall and winds with speed up to 110 kilometre per hour, gusting up to 120 kmph.
This is the first time that a cyclone is making landfall on the Maharashtra coast in June since record-keeping began in 1891.
Meanwhile this is 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.
Several cities in Maharashtra are experiencing heavy rainfall as a result of the landfall.
Apart from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli have also been put on high alert.
The cyclone is also going to hit Gujarat’s Surat some time in the evening.
Meanwhile, Goa experienced heavy rains and gusty winds on Wednesday morning. There were also reports of flooding in some low-lying areas, according to PTI.
All emergency services, the police, fire brigade, NDRF and SDRF, Army, Navy, Air Force, coast-guard, home-guards and others are fully geared for the anticipated fallout of the cyclone, while the domestic flight operations have been curtailed as a precaution.
Over 30 teams of the National Disaster Response Force have been deployed in areas expected to be affected by cyclone Nisarga.
The Western Naval Command has mobilised adequate resources for flood relief, rescue and diving assistance in the event of excessive rainfall and flooding of both urban and rural areas in coordination with the respective state governments on the western seaboard.
With the cyclonic storm Nisarga brewing in the Arabian Sea, the Indian Navy has placed all teams on alert and are in readiness to respond to any requirement of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) during the storm period.
Indian Air Force (IAF) continues in a heightened state of preparedness to provide required assistance in combating the cyclone. On June 2, one IAF IL-76 aircraft landed at Surat with 5 NDRF teams while another IL-76 airlifted 5 NDRF teams from Vijayawada for Mumbai.
The upcoming cyclone will put further stress on the security forces already burdened by the COVID-19 pandemic duties in the worst-hit Mumbai Metropolitan Region – most falling in the Coronavirus Red Zone – since the past nearly three months now.
Meanwhile, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport has announced that it will be operating only 19 flights –including 11 departures and 8 arrivals — on June 3 due to uncertain weather conditions caused by cyclone Nisarga. The flights will be operated by AirAsia India, Air India, IndiGo, GoAir and SpiceJet.
The airport authority has also cautioned passengers about probable changes in the schedule of the flights due to the cyclone and urged them to check with their respective airliners before leaving for the airport.
The Central Railway has rescheduled 5 special trains scheduled to leave from Mumbai area on June 3, and has regulated or diverted three special trains scheduled to arrive in Mumbai today, in view of Cyclone Nisarga.
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.
Mumbai has been battered by continuous rains since Tuesday evening and this morning, several low lying were inundated in the city and suburbs.
While prohibitory orders are clamped in the city, Mumbai Police and other security forces are out in full swing to ensure people don’t step out to the sea fronts, promenades or beaches and other open spaces.
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.
More than 19,000 people in Maharashtra have been moved to safety. As a precautionary measure, an estimated 2,000 people living in the non-pucca houses have been shifted to safer locations and an estimated 2,000-plus slum-dwellers in low-lying areas have been asked to evacuate.