Cyclone Nisarga makes landfall: Flights diverted, traffic stopped amid heavy rains in Maharashtra
Cyclone Nisarga made landfall in Maharashtra’s Raigad district on Wednesday as heavy rains battered Mumbai and several cities across western parts of the state.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a red alert for at least seven coastal districts of Maharashtra and several districts along Gujarat’s coast are also expecting heavy rainfall.
Mumbai, which is already burdened with thousands of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases and is on the path of the cyclone, saw heavy showers and is likely to receive very heavy rainfall upwards of 164mm.
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Here are the latest developments:
* Nearly 800 people have been evacuated from various villages along the coastal zones of Alibag over the last 24 hours and shifted to two schools converted into cyclone shelters. Alibag, about 95km from Mumbai, is in the path of Cyclone Nisarga and was expected to be the landfall area.
* Traffic on iconic Bandra-Worli sea link in Mumbai was suspended on Wednesday in light of Cyclone Nisarga, which began landfall in Raigad.
* More than 500 emergency response team members from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Mumbai Fire Brigade (MFB) and the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) are on standby in the Maharashtra capital.
* The civic body has appealed to citizens to not step out of their houses unnecessarily and prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) has been clamped.
* It has also asked citizens to keep their mobile phones and power banks charged to ensure connectivity and to keep candles handy.
* BMC also said in an advisory that people should carry a hammer or objects that can help break the glass in case car doors get jammed if they have to drive out.
* The Maharashtra State Electricity Transmission Company (Mahatransco) has created a contingency plan for all stakeholders for Wednesday and Thursday to prevent power outage in the state.
* The BrihanMumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking, which supplies power to Mumbai’s island city, said it will keep its engineers on standby so that immediate action can be taken in case of a power failure, especially at Covid-19 hospitals or care centres.
* Adani Electricity Mumbai Limited (AEML), a major power supplier in the city and its suburbs, said all necessary precautions have been taken.
* Ninety-four lifeguards are on standby at several beaches in the city including Girgaon Chowpatty, Juhu, Versova, Aksa and Gorai, BMC officials said.
* Three NDRF teams of 45 members each were already stationed in Mumbai until Tuesday. An additional five teams of 45 members each were airlifted from Andhra Pradesh late on Tuesday night. The NDRF team is on standby with equipment such as rescue boats, tree and pole cutters, life jackets, ropes, breathing masks, floaters, etc.
* Animals of the Byculla Zoo, including tiger, leopard, hyena, various reptiles and others, were shifted into their holding areas at the zoo to avoid any harm from the tree falls.
* In the next three days, there will be three high tides of over four metres at least thrice. The first high tide of 4.26 metres was on Wednesday at 10.06 am. This will be followed by a 4.56-metre high tide at 10.57 am on Thursday, and a third one is expected at 11.45 am on Friday of 4.75 metres.
* Flight operations were disrupted at the Pune International Airport and the Airport Authority of India (AAI) officials said two flights were diverted and another was cancelled due to the inclement weather condition.
* Heavy rains accompanied with gusty winds lashed several districts in western Maharashtra as Cyclone Nisarga made landfall in the state’s Raigad district. They have been witnessing heavy rainfall since Tuesday night.
* In Pune district, widespread rains lashed cities and talukas on western parts such as Pune, Maval, Mulshi and Velhe. Other areas like Satara, Kolhapur and Sangli also witnessed rains.
* Anupam Kashypi, IMD Pune’s director, said most parts of western Maharashtra will witness rain for the next three days.
* Naval Kishore Ram, the district collector, said they have issues alert to hilly areas such as Ambegaon, Junnar, Maval, Bhor, Velhe and Mulshi talukas. “We have also prepared evacuation plans if required in these areas. People have been asked not to go out of homes,” Ram said.